The Economics of Institutions and Culture

Current projects

Trust and Tolerance in Times of Turbulence

The purpose of the project is to better understand how political and economic turbulence shapes people’s attitudes towards others. Such knowledge can help to avoid outcomes that increase intolerance, reduce trust and create social tensions. In times of economic integration and interdependence, and when politics is increasingly characterized by populism and polarization, crises of various kinds are bound to emerge. While economic and political consequences of such occurrences have been studied, it is still largely unknown what the social consequences are, especially how people’s attitudes to others, in the form of trust and tolerance, are affected. It is important to know what shapes these outcome variables since they constitute central parts of the “cultural fabric” of society, with direct implications for how well corporate and political governance works, how open people are to cooperating and transacting with others and, ultimately, what levels of life satisfaction people experience.

Financial Decisions and the Integrations among Immigrants in Sweden

The project aims at deepening our understanding of the financial decisions made by immigrants in Sweden. The goal is to understand why immigrants have lower lifetime savings and what can be done to improve the situation. The high immigration levels in Sweden makes it increasingly important to investigate the savings behavior of immigrants, to guide economic and social policy with the purpose of improving the welfare and integration of immigrants. By using Swedish microdata the project investigates the importance of cultural factors, such as trust, and institutions to explain the financial decisions of immigrants.

Institutions for Tolerance, Freedom and Growth

A good society is characterized by, e.g., tolerance, freedom and growth. Tolerance, because tolerance implies respect for minorities and a basis for co-existence, even if people differ in various dimensions. Freedom, because freedom enables people to make their own decisions about how to lead their lives and to conduct experiments in living. Growth, because growth brings with it greater opportunities for the realization of preferences, no matter what those preferences look like, without risking conflict by taking from some and giving to others. The idea of this project is to widen our knowledge about how these three outcomes – tolerance, freedom and growth – can be achieved by focusing on institutions as possible determinants. In other words, the research question is how laws, rules and norms, and the political, economic and social systems to which they give rise, affect fundamental values in society.

Aid in the SDG Era: Understanding Aid Effectiveness Using a Disaggregated Approach

The need to design aid policies that help developing countries reach the SDG targets creates demand for highly specific, yet generalizable, research on aid effectiveness. The aim of the project is to investigate aid effectiveness using a systematic disaggregated approach. Through comparative analyses of aid impacts by donors, sectors and sub-national localities, we hope to shed light on sector-, donor- and location-specific aid effectiveness and how it can be improved.

Women's Health and Welfare – Inequality of Opportunity, Norms and Possibilities for Change

This project focuses on women’s health and welfare in developing countries. We investigate the persistence and determinants of a number of women hurting customs, such as early marriage, teen-age fertility, intimate partner violence and female genital cutting, and the effectiveness of policy interventions to change the relevant norms and behaviors.


International cooperation

Visiting researchers

Collaborating with others is essential for IFN as a research institute. Our researchers co-author articles with colleagues from other institutes, and many also teach at various universities and colleges.

As part of our extensive program of guest researchers, leading international researchers visit the institute. The visitors present and pursue their research as well as interact and cooperate with researchers at IFN.

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Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Grevgatan 34 - 2 fl, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden | Phone: +46-(0)8-665 45 00 |