Growth, Development and Happiness               2.19
     cycle—finding ways to break this cycle could                friendly social qualities are acquired is not yet
     increase the well-being of marginalised individuals         fully understood. Fortunately, the new discipline
     enormously.                                                 of behavioural economics is beginning to give us
                                                                 some insights into the formation of customs and
     sociAl norms, culture AnD DeveloPment                       behaviour:23
     Economic development is not only dependent on                         It is, for instance, known that buildings
     fiscal policy, monetary policy and taxation, but                      and office spaces which are cleaner and
     is also rooted in human psychology, sociology,                        aesthetically better maintained result
     culture and norms. In economics, there has been                       in individuals being more honest and
     a bit of resistance in emphasising other aspects                      desisting corrupt activity. It is almost as
     of development, because it is thought of giving                       if we have a mental inclination not to
     ground to the neighbouring disciplines.22 The
                                                                           defile a good ambience through acts of
     recent World Development Report (WDR) of 2015
     focuses on the behavioural and social foundations
     of development, and has been very well received.                      New York city’s notorious high crime
                                                                           was controlled, among other things,
          Government documents (generally, hard-
                                                                           by cleaning up the city and removing
     nosed), usually, make no mention of the role of
                                                                           graffiti from the walls. New York’s police
     social norms and culture in promoting development
                                                                           department took a decision to deter
     and economic efficiency. However, there is now
                                                                           vandalism and graffiti that scar public
     a growing body of literature that demonstrates
                                                                           spaces. This act of making the cityscape
     how certain social norms and cultural practices
                                                                           more aesthetic somehow made potential
     are vital ingredients for economic efficiency and
                                                                           criminals less prone to crime.
     growth. Groups and societies that are known to
     be honest and trustworthy tend to do better than                      One sees casual evidence of this in the
     societies that do not have this reputation. There                     behaviour of Delhites using the metro. It
     have been broad cross-country studies and also                        has been widely noted that people behave
     laboratory experiments that illustrate this. More                     better when they travel on Delhi’s well-
     generally, what is being argued is that a nation’s                    maintained metro (postponing their bad
     success depends of course on its resources, human                     behaviour to when they come up to the
     capital and economic policies, for instance fiscal                    surface again, some would add).
     and monetary policies, but also on the cultural                  All this is in keeping with the influential broken
     and social norms that permeate the society.                 windows theory in sociology, which maintains
     Societies that are endowed with personal integrity          that, if we control low level, anti-social behaviour
     and trustworthiness have the natural advantage,             and take small steps to improve the environment,
     in that no third party is required to enforce               this will have a natural deterrent effect on larger
     contracts. For outsiders the mere knowledge that            criminal behaviour and acts of corruption. Also,
     a particular society is trustworthy is reason to do         the sheer recognition and awareness that some
     more business and trade with it. One reason why             collective qualities of citizens, such as honesty and
     these ‘social’ causes of development do not get             trustworthiness, enable the entire society to do
     enough recognition in the literature on economic            well, prompts individuals to adopt those qualities
     policy is that the science of how these economics-          and overcome the ubiquitous free-rider problem.
       22.  Kaushik Basu, Chief Economist, World Bank, Livemint,   23.   Ministry of Finance, Economic Survey 2009–10,
            N. Delhi, 3 February, 2015.                                  Government of India, N Delhi, pp. 34–35.