Yann Algan’s research project on Culture, Cooperation and Economics has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant

Yann Algan’s project – TRUST : Culture, Cooperation and Economics – was among the only two projects that received ERC Grants awarded to French SSH Research in 2009.

TRUST aims at looking at the links between culture of cooperation, economics and institutions, with causality running in both directions. The first step is to assess the causal effect of cooperation on economic decisions and happiness. Social attitudes such as trust seems a prerequisite to expand economic exchanges, in particular in modern societies characterized by the increased complexity of information and relations with anonymous others. Cooperative beliefs might also directly affect happiness by reducing the feelings of risks that humans have to cope with in modern societies. The second step of this research is to look conversely at the effect of economic policies on social attitudes. TRUST will assess the effect of human resources management and welfare state policies on cooperation within organizations and the society.

This project proposes cutting-edge methods to carry on this research agenda. First, it will track social and economic attitudes on the cyberspace by using a Medialab. The development of new communications technologies has triggered a revolution in the social traces that citizens leave simply by using digital technologies. The available data reservoirs on the web are colossal and can provide a new way to relate selfreported social and economic attitudes. It will also provide to the civil society new instruments of reflexivity on the state of social and economic cooperation. Second, new tools of randomized experiments in the sphere of social sciences will be introduced to estimate the impact of economic policies on social attitudes. These experiments will be run in the context of the management of human resources to understand how inequalities and organizational structure can influence cooperative attitudes.

See the web site.