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Colonization and Genetics of Comparative Development

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  • Ideen A. Riahi

    ()
    (Simon Fraser University)

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    Abstract

    This paper examines the hypothesis that genealogical closeness to populations that are at the frontier of technological innovations facilitates the diffusion of development (e.g., Spolaore and Wacziarg, 2009). Proponents of this hypothesis argue that it is supported by a strong negative cross-country correlation between genetic distance to the United States and income per capita. This paper argues that there is no causal relationship between these two variables. This is because there are important variables, such as European settler mortality at the time of colonization that simultaneously affect countries' genetic distance to the technological frontier and their current economic performance. Controlling for confounding factors removes the statistical association between genetic distance and economic performance. IV estimates also confirm the lack of significant statistical relationship between genetic distance and economic performance. Further, fixed effect estimates show that those countries that became genetically closer to the world technological frontier over the past 500 years did not become richer because of it.

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    File URL: http://www.sfu.ca/econ-research/RePEc/sfu/sfudps/dp13-11.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University in its series Discussion Papers with number dp13-11.

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    Length: 47
    Date of creation: Oct 2013
    Date of revision: 29 Oct 2013
    Handle: RePEc:sfu:sfudps:dp13-11

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    Postal: Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
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    Postal: Working Paper Coordinator, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
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    Keywords: Genetic Distance; Comparative Development; Colonization; Institutions;

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    1. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2011. "Long-Term Barriers to the International Diffusion of Innovations," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2011, pages 11-46 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
    3. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2007. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange?," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/42, European University Institute.
    4. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
    5. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," NBER Working Papers 10568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A & Yared, Pierre, 2005. "Income and Democracy," CEPR Discussion Papers 5273, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Angeles, Luis, 2012. "Is there a role for genetics in economic development?," SIRE Discussion Papers 2012-08, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    8. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 6849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2013. "The 'Out of Africa' Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 1-46, February.
    10. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1856, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    11. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2012. "The European Origins of Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 18162, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Louis Putterman & Valerie Bockstette, 2000. "States and Markets:the Advantage of an Early Start," Working Papers 2000-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    13. Campbell, Douglas L. & Pyun, Ju Hyun, 2011. "The Diffusion of Development: Along Genetic or Geographic Lines?," MPRA Paper 35178, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Klaus Desmet & Michel Le Breton & Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin & Shlomo Weber , 2008. "Stability of Nations and Genetic Diversity ," Working Papers 003-08, International School of Economics at TSU, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.
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