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The 'Out of Africa' Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development

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  • Quamrul Ashraf
  • Oded Galor

Abstract

This research advances and empirically establishes the hypothesis that, in the course of the prehistoric exodus of Homo sapiens out of Africa, variation in migratory distance to various settlements across the globe affected genetic diversity and has had a persistent hump-shaped effect on comparative economic development, reflecting the trade-off between the beneficial and the detrimental effects of diversity on productivity. While the low diversity of Native American populations and the high diversity of African populations have been detrimental for the development of these regions, the intermediate levels of diversity associated with European and Asian populations have been conducive for development. (JEL N10, N30, N50, O10, O50, Z10)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:1:p:1-46
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.1.1
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    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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