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The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity

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  • Stelios Michalopoulos

Abstract

This research examines the economic origins of ethnolinguistic diversity. The empirical analysis constructs detailed data on the distribution of land quality 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 is consistent with the proposed hypothesis, according to which heterogeneous land endowments generated region specific human capital, limiting population mobility and leading to the formation of localized 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, geographically driven, versus the artificial, man-made, components of contemporary ethnic diversity.

Suggested Citation

  • Stelios Michalopoulos, 2009. "The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 110, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  • Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:110
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ethnic Diversity; Geography; Technological Progress; Human Capital; Colonization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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