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Post-1500 Population Flows and The Long-Run Determinants of Economic Growth and Inequality

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  • Louis Putterman
  • David N. Weil

Abstract

We construct a matrix showing the share of the year 2000 population in every country that is descended from people in different source countries in the year 1500. Using the matrix to adjust indicators of early development so that they reflect the history of a population's ancestors rather than the history of the place they live today greatly improves the ability of those indicators to predict current GDP. The variance of the early development history of a country's inhabitants is a good predictor for current inequality, with ethnic groups originating in regions having longer histories of organized states tending to be at the upper end of a country's income distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Louis Putterman & David N. Weil, 2010. "Post-1500 Population Flows and The Long-Run Determinants of Economic Growth and Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1627-1682.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:125:y:2010:i:4:p:1627-1682.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/qjec.2010.125.4.1627
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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