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Do genetically fragmented societies respond less to global warming? Diversity and climate change policies

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  • Vu, Trung V.

Abstract

This research empirically establishes that interpersonal population diversity helps explain worldwide differences in climate change policies. It advances the hypothesis that heterogeneity in the composition of genetic traits, originating from the prehistoric course of the exodus of Homo sapiens from East Africa tens of thousands of years ago, is a major barrier to implementing stringent climate-friendly policies and measures. The underlying intuition is that genetically fragmented societies, characterized by mistrust, preference heterogeneity and persistent poor-quality institutions, find it difficult to sustain collective climate action. Using data for 84 world economies, I find evidence that prehistorically determined genetic diversity has a negative influence on the stringency of climate-related policies and measures. Furthermore, I document that descendants of ancestral societies with greater genetic diversity are less likely to exhibit pro-climate behavior, consistent with a mechanism of inter-generational transmission of cultural norms of mistrust and non-cooperation. The findings suggest that strengthening national responses to changing climate conditions requires considering the long-term legacy of interpersonal population diversity.

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  • Vu, Trung V., 2021. "Do genetically fragmented societies respond less to global warming? Diversity and climate change policies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:104:y:2021:i:c:s0140988321005090
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2021.105652
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    Keywords

    Global warming; Climate change policies; Collective action; Population diversity; History; Long-run development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • O44 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Environment and Growth
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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