IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper

Cultural Diversity, Geographical Isolation, and the Origin of the Wealth of Nations

This research argues that variations in the interplay between cultural assimilation and cultural di¤usion have played a signi?cant role in giving rise to di¤erential patterns of economic devel- opment across the globe. Societies that were geographically less vulnerable to cultural di¤usion bene?ted from enhanced assimilation, lower cultural diversity, and more intense accumulation of society-speci?c human capital. Thus, they operated more e¢ ciently with respect to their production-possibility frontiers and ?ourished in the technological paradigm that characterized the agricultural stage of development. The lack of cultural di¤usion and its manifestation in cultural rigidity, however, diminished the ability of these societies to adapt to a new technological paradigm, which delayed their industrialization and, hence, their take-o¤ to a state of sustained economic growth. The theory thus contributes to the understanding of the advent of divergence and overtaking in the process of development. Consistently with the theory, the empirical analysis establishes that (i) geographical isolation prevalent in pre-industrial times (i.e., prior to the advent of airborne transportation technology) has had a persistent negative impact on the extent of contemporary cultural diversity; (ii) pre-industrial geographical isolation had a positive impact on economic development in the agricultural stage but has had a negative impact on income per capita in the course of industrialization; and (iii) cultural diversity, as determined exogenously by pre-industrial geographical isolation, has had a positive impact on economic development in the process of industrialization.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.brown.edu/academics/economics/sites/brown.edu.academics.economics/files/uploads/2011-16_paper.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Brown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2011-16.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2011-16
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  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. Rachel M. Friedberg & Jennifer Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
  3. Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck & Bentzen, Jeanet & Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Sharp, Paul, 2012. "Religious orders and growth through cultural change in pre-industrial England," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 12/2012, Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark.
  4. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer & Vollrath, Dietrich, 2008. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions and the Great Divergence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6751, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2007. "The Power of the Family," NBER Working Papers 13051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Woessmann, Ludger, 2009. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from before the Demographic Transition," IZA Discussion Papers 4557, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  8. Gordon H. Hanson, 2007. "Emigration, remittances and labor force participation in Mexico," INTAL Working Papers 1456, Inter-American Development Bank, INTAL.
  9. Galor, Oded & Michalopoulos, Stelios, 2011. "Evolution and the Growth Process: Natural Selection of Entrepreneurial Traits," CEPR Discussion Papers 8377, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  11. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299.
  12. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2011. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0762, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  13. Giuliano, Paola, 2006. "Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 2042, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Christian Morrisson & Fabrice Murtin, 2009. "The century of education," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28281, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  15. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2008. "Immigration and National Wages: Clarifying the Theory and the Empirics," NBER Working Papers 14188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Alesina, Alberto F & Algan, Yann & Cahuc, Pierre & Giuliano, Paola, 2010. "Family Values and the Regulation of Labor," CEPR Discussion Papers 7688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
  18. George J. Borjas, 2006. "Native Internal Migration and the Labor Market Impact of Immigration," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
  19. Becker, Sascha O. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2007. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," IZA Discussion Papers 2886, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Alessandra Fogli & Raquel Fernandez, 2005. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," Working Papers 05-07, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  21. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," MPRA Paper 4134, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  22. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano & Nathan Nunn, 2013. "On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 469-530.
  23. Borjas, George J., 2013. "The analytics of the wage effect of immigration," Scholarly Articles 11744469, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  24. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
  25. Thomas Andersen & Carl-Johan Dalgaard, 2011. "Flows of people, flows of ideas, and the inequality of nations," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 1-32, March.
  26. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2011. "Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa," NBER Working Papers 17184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Osili, Una Okonkwo, 2007. "Remittances and savings from international migration: Theory and evidence using a matched sample," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 446-465, July.
  28. Rodrik, Dani & Subramanian, Arvind & Trebbi, Francesco, 2002. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 3643, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  29. Ashraf, Quamrul & Galor, Oded, 2012. "The "Out of Africa" Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development," IZA Discussion Papers 6330, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  30. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "Presidential Address Institutions and Culture," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 255-294, 04-05.
  31. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Goverment," NBER Working Papers 6727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Oded Galor & Quamrul Ashraf, 2008. "Human Genetic Diversity and Comparative Economic Development," Working Papers 2008-3, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  33. Lucas, Robert E B & Stark, Oded, 1985. "Motivations to Remit: Evidence from Botswana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 901-18, October.
  34. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Benno Torgler, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History: A Comment on Becker and Woessmann," CREMA Working Paper Series 2009-06, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  35. Rapoport, Hillel & Docquier, Frederic, 2006. "The Economics of Migrants' Remittances," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
  36. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of economic Growth," Working Papers 2000-18, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  37. Graziella Bertocchi & Fabio Canova, 1996. "Did colonization matter for growth? An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa's underdevelopment," Economics Working Papers 202, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  38. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Scholarly Articles 4553005, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  39. Michael Kremer, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716.
  40. Olsson, Ola & Hibbs Jr., Douglas A., 2000. "Biogeography and Long-Run Economic Development," Working Papers in Economics 26, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 11 Aug 2000.
  41. de la Briere, Benedicte & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & de Janvry, Alain & Lambert, Sylvie, 2002. "The roles of destination, gender, and household composition in explaining remittances: an analysis for the Dominican Sierra," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 309-328, August.
  42. Maristella Botticini & Zvi Eckstein, 2007. "From Farmers to Merchants, Conversions and Diaspora: Human Capital and Jewish History," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 885-926, 09.
  43. Nunn, Nathan & Wantchekon, Leonard, 2011. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," Scholarly Articles 11986331, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  44. Masahisa Fujita & Marcus Berliant, 2004. "Knowledge Creation as a Square Dance on the Hilbert Cube," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 204, Econometric Society.
  45. Michihiro Kandori, 1992. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80.
  46. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1997. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," DELTA Working Papers 97-03, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  47. David S. Landes, 2006. "Why Europe and the West? Why Not China?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 3-22, Spring.
  48. Christian Dustmann & Josep Mestres, 2009. "Remittances and Temporary Migration," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0909, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  49. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Culture and Language," NBER Working Papers 5249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  50. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A, 2003. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3712, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  51. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2007. "Occupational Choice and the Spirit of Capitalism," NBER Working Papers 12917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  52. Dean Yang, 2011. "Migrant Remittances," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 129-52, Summer.
  53. Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & Peri, Giovanni, 2005. "Cities and cultures," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 304-337, September.
  54. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1998. "The Social Selection of Flexible and Rigid Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 63-82, March.
  55. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, 09.
  56. 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.
  57. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2007. "The Diffusion of Development," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0704, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  58. Heiner, Ronald A, 1983. "The Origin of Predictable Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 560-95, September.
  59. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2005. "History, Institutions, and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1190-1213, September.
  60. Jonathan Temple & Paul A. Johnson, 1998. "Social Capability and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 965-990.
  61. Connel Fullenkamp & Thomas F. Cosimano & Michael T. Gapen & Ralph Chami & Peter Montiel & Adolfo Barajas, 2008. "Macroeconomic Consequences of Remittances," IMF Occasional Papers 259, International Monetary Fund.
  62. Gordon H. Hanson, 2007. "Emigration, Remittances and Labor Force Participation in Mexico," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 9371, Inter-American Development Bank.
  63. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
  64. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
  65. Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, 2006. "The Galor-Weil Model Revisited: A Quantitative Exercise," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(1), pages 116-142, January.
  66. Hong, Lu & Page, Scott E., 2001. "Problem Solving by Heterogeneous Agents," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 123-163, March.
  67. Paul Collier, 2000. "Ethnicity, Politics and Economic Performance," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(3), pages 225-245, November.
  68. Stelios Michalopoulos, 2012. "The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1508-39, June.
  69. Patricia Beeson & Tara Watson & Lara Shore-Sheppard, 2010. "Local Fiscal Policies and Urban Wage Structures," Department of Economics Working Papers 2010-05, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  70. Funkhouser, Edward, 1995. "Remittances from International Migration: A Comparison of El Salvador and Nicaragua," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 137-46, February.
  71. Oded Galor, 2005. "Discrete Dynamical Systems," GE, Growth, Math methods 0504001, EconWPA.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2011-16. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Brown Economics Webmaster)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.