IZA DP No. 12398: Business Culture: The Role of Personal and Impersonal Business Relationships on Market Efficiency
In this paper, we study the effects of business culture on market efficiency. We exogenously vary the type of business culture between business-is-business cultures, which consist on impersonal relationships where financial matters are paramount, and business-is-family cultures, which comprise of cohesive personal relationships where financial matters and personal attachments are intertwined. We use a laboratory experiment to assess the effect of business cultures in environments with different degrees of contract enforceability and competition. Our main results indicate that business-is-family cultures are more effective when contracts are unverifiable because they help market participants overcome problems of trust. On the other hand, we find that business-is-business cultures are more effective in competitive settings because they facilitate the severance of ties with unproductive partners.