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The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity: Theory and Evidence

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  • Stelios Michalopoulos

Abstract

This research examines theoretically and empirically the economic origins of ethnolinguistic diversity. The empirical analysis constructs detailed data on the distribution of land qualtiy and elevation across contiguous regions, virtual and real countries, and shows that variation in elevation and land quality has contributed significantly to the emergence and persistence of ethnic fractionalization. The empirical and historical evidence support the theoretical analysis, according to which heterogenous land endowments generated region specific human capital, liminting population mobility and leading to the formation of localized ethnicities and languages. The research contributes to the understanding of the emergence of ethnicities and languages. The research contributes to the understanding of the emergence of ethnicities and their spatial distribution and offers a distinction between the natural, georgraphically driven, versus the artificial, man-made, components of contemporary ethnic diversity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Tufts University in its series Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University with number 0725.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:0725

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Keywords: Ethnic Diversity; Geography; Technological Process; Human Capital; Colonization.;

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  1. Maristella Botticini & Zvi Eckstein, 2006. "From Farmers to Merchants, Voluntary Conversion and Diaspora: A Human Capital Interpretation of Jewish History," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 2, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  2. Louis Putterman & Valerie Bockstette, 2000. "States and Markets:the Advantage of an Early Start," Working Papers 2000-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  3. Abhijit Banerjee & Rohini Somanathan, 2004. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 04-17, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  4. Quamrul Ashraf & Stelios Michalopoulos, 2010. "The Climatic Origins of the Neolithic Revolution: Theory and Evidence," Center for Development Economics 2010-10, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  5. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  6. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2008. "On the Theory of Ethnic Conflict," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 08-08, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  7. Ahlerup, Pelle & Olsson, Ola, 2007. "The Roots of Ethnic Diversity," Working Papers in Economics 281, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  8. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
  9. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2006. "The Diffusion of Development," NBER Working Papers 12153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2008. "On the Salience of Ethnic Conflict," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2185-2202, December.
  12. Williamson, Jeffrey G, 2006. "Poverty Traps, Distance and Diversity: The Migration Connection," CEPR Discussion Papers 5891, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Curtin,Philip D., 1984. "Cross-Cultural Trade in World History," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521269315, 9.
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Cited by:
  1. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-41, August.
  2. Patricia Beeson & Lara Shore-Sheppard & Tara Watson, 2010. "Local Fiscal Policies and Urban Wage Structures," Public Finance Review, , vol. 38(5), pages 540-584, September.
  3. Durante, Ruben, 2009. "Risk, Cooperation and the Economic Origins of Social Trust: an Empirical Investigation," MPRA Paper 25887, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Philipp Kolo, 2011. "Questioning Ethnic Fragmentation's Exogeneity - Drivers of Changing Ethnic Boundaries," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 210, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Guerriero, C., 2009. "Democracy, Judicial Attitudes and Heterogeneity: The Civil Versus Common Law Tradition," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0917, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  6. Mesbah J. Motamed & Raymond J.G.M. Florax & William A. Masters, 2014. "Agriculture, Transportation and the Timing of Urbanization: Global Analysis at the Grid Cell Level," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-002/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.
  7. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompqllr09iatsh0to2 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Casey, Gregory P. & Owen, Ann L., 2010. "Inequality and fractionalization," MPRA Paper 25493, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Motamed, Mesbah J. & Florax, Raymond J.G.M. & Masters, William J., 2009. "Geography and Economic Transition: Global Spatial Analysis at the Grid Cell Level," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 49589, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  10. Charles J. Cook, . "The Role of Lactose Tolerance in Pre-Colonial Development," Departmental Working Papers, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University 2011-12, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.

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