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Genetic, Cultural and Geographical Distances

Author

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  • Giuliano, Paola
  • Spilimbergo, Antonio
  • Tonon, Giovanni

Abstract

This paper investigates how the measures of genetic distance between populations, which have been used in anthropology and historical linguistics, can be used in economics. What does the correlation between genetic distance and economic variables mean? Using the measure of genetic distance, a newly-collected database on transport costs, as well as more refined measures of geography within Europe, we show that i) geography explains both genetic distance and transportation costs between European countries, and ii) genetic distance does not explain economic outcomes once we control for geography. We conclude that genetic distance in economics capture transportation costs between countries and not cultural differences.

Suggested Citation

  • Giuliano, Paola & Spilimbergo, Antonio & Tonon, Giovanni, 2006. "Genetic, Cultural and Geographical Distances," CEPR Discussion Papers 5807, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5807
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 6849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
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    7. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2009. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1095-1131.
    8. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2003. "Institutions Don't Rule: Direct Effects of Geography on Per Capita Income," NBER Working Papers 9490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1856, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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    11. Limao, Nuno & Venables, Anthony J., 1999. "Infrastructure, geographical disadvantage, and transport costs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2257, The World Bank.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cultural economics; genetics; geography; trade; transport costs;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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