Article | Journal of Financial Economics | December 2011

Egalitarianism and International Investment

by Jordan I. Siegel, Amir N. Licht and Shalom H. Schwartz

Abstract

This study identifies the effect of a key cultural dimension—egalitarianism—on a set of international investment outcomes. Egalitarianism expresses a society's cultural orientation with respect to intolerance for abuses of market and political power. We show egalitarianism to be based on exogenous factors including social fractionalization, religion, and war experience. Controlling for a large set of competing explanations, we find a robust influence of egalitarianism distance on cross-border investment flows of equity, debt, and mergers and acquisitions. An informal cultural institution largely determined a century or more ago, egalitarianism influences international investment via an associated set of consistent policy choices made in recent years. But even after controlling for these associated policy choices, egalitarianism continues to exercise a direct effect on cross-border investment flows, likely through its direct influence on managers' daily business conduct.

Keywords: egalitarianism; international investment; culture; cultural distance; foreign direct investment; informal institutions; social institutions; mergers and acquisitions; cross-listing; Investment; Equality and Inequality; Mergers and Acquisitions;

Citation:

Siegel, Jordan I., Amir N. Licht, and Shalom H. Schwartz. "Egalitarianism and International Investment." Journal of Financial Economics 102, no. 3 (December 2011). (This study identifies the effect of a key cultural dimension - egalitarianism - on a set of international investment outcomes. Egalitarianism expresses a society's cultural orientation with respect to intolerance for abuses of market and political power. We show egalitarianism to be based on exogenous factors including social fractionalization, religion, and war experience. Controlling for a large set of competing explanations, we find a robust influence of egalitarianism distance on cross-border investment flows of equity, debt, and mergers and acquisitions. An informal cultural institution largely determined a century or more ago, egalitarianism influences international investment via an associated set of consistent policy choices made in recent years. But even after controlling for these associated policy choices, egalitarianism continues to exercise a direct effect on cross-border investment flows, likely through its direct influence on managers' daily business conduct.)