In this episode we chat with Melanie Xue about her paper “Folklore”. Melanie and her co-author, Stelios Michalopoulos, focus their research on Folklore, interpreted as the collection of traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community passed through the generations by word of mouth. They find that societies with tales portraying men as dominant and women as submissive tend to relegate their women to subordinate positions in their communities, both historically and today. More risk-averse and less entrepreneurial people grew up listening to stories where competitions and challenges are more likely to be harmful than beneficial. Communities with low tolerance towards antisocial behavior, captured by the prevalence of tricksters getting punished, are more trusting and prosperous today.
Paper link: DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/qje/qjab003
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