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Economic Persistence despite Adverse Policies: Evidence from Kyrgyzstan


  • Catherine Guirkinger
  • Gani Aldashev
  • Alisher Aldashev
  • Maté Fodor


We study the long-run persistence of relative economic well-being in the face of highly adverse government policies using a combination of rich historical and contemporaneous data sources from Kyrgyzstan. Even after controlling for unobservable local effects, the economic well-being (measured by income, expenditures, or assets) of Kyrgyz households in the 2010s strongly correlates with the early 20th-century average wealth of the tribes from which these households descend. The degree of economic inequality at the tribe level in the 2010s correlates with the within-tribe wealth inequality in the early 20th century. In terms of channels of persistence, we find support for the inter-generational transmission of human capital, relative status, political power, and cultural traits. Transmission of material wealth, differences in natural endowments, or geographic sorting cannot explain the observed long-run persistence.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Guirkinger & Gani Aldashev & Alisher Aldashev & Maté Fodor, 2020. "Economic Persistence despite Adverse Policies: Evidence from Kyrgyzstan," Working Papers ECARES 2020-39, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/312572

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    More about this item


    Wealth distribution; long-run persistence; inter-generational transmission; traditional institutions; tribe; clan; Kyrgyzstan;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D15 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East


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