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Culture and development

This theme investigates developing economies, particularly the roles culture, identity and ideas play in shaping developing countries.

Our research explores the roots of underdevelopment and the failure of governments to adopt ‘appropriate’ institutions. We investigate how ideas, interests and cultural norms affect policymaking and the development of institutions. We also consider how culture can be shaped or changed and the effect this can have on nation building and identity.

Theme leaders

Picture of Sharun Mukand
Sharun Mukand

Sharun is Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick

Picture of Robert Akerlof
Robert Akerlof

Robert is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick.

Current and future research

We are working on a number of projects including:

  • What makes a society tolerant? How do minorities react to persecution in different contexts? We will be studying India and Germany in the inter-war period to understand these questions, analysing the circumstances under which scholars migrated owing to persecution in their home countries.
  • Ideas and identity politics in developing and developed countries
  • Combating corruption: the role of guilt, shame and the rule of law
  • Taxation and supplier networks: evidence from India
  • Costs and benefits of rural-urban migration: evidence from India

Research highlights


How do culture and institutions help to explain development and divergence in a globalising world? Presentation by Sharun Mukand.