Italy Divided

History is obviously important in making the world the way it is today, but sometimes it is easy to forget the strange ways in which that history can affect our everyday lives.

This episode of Planet Money explores the differences between the economy of northern Italy and that of southern Italy. In traditional Planet Money fashion they look at just one company and their efforts to combat high absentee rates of their employees.

In instances where an entire culture seems to act a certain way, such as southern Italians often calling in sick to work, it is easy to say that is just the way it is and that it has always been that way. But that isn’t the case. A hundred or even five hundred years isn’t forever. Often if you are willing to look back into history you can find reasonable explanations for most cultural norms. If those norms are positive, great, you now have information to help you spread those norms to other places. If the norms are negative, you are now armed with information to effectively change individual actions by targeting what are most likely subconscious decisions.

http://www.npr.org/v2/?i=358555643&m=358648369&t=audio

You can find more information on the episode here or subscribe on iTunes.

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