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Long-Run Cultural Divergence: Evidence From the Neolithic Revolution

Author

Listed:
  • Olsson, Ola

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Paik, Christopher

    () (NYU Abu Dhabi)

Abstract

This paper investigates the long-run influence of the Neolithic Revolution on contemporary cultural norms and institutions as reflected in the imension of collectivism-individualism. We outline an agricultural origins-model of cultural divergence where we claim that the advent of farming in a core region was characterized by collectivist values and eventually triggered the out-migration of individualistic farmers towards more and more peripheral areas. This migration pattern caused the initial cultural divergence, which remained persistent over generations. The key mechanism is demonstrated in an extended Malthusian growth model that explicitly models cultural dynamics and a migration choice for individualistic farmers. Using detailed data on the date of adoption of Neolithic agriculture among Western regions and countries, the empirical findings show that the regions which adopted agriculture early also value obedience more and feel less in control of their lives. They have also had very little experience of democracy during the last century. The findings add to the literature by suggesting the possibility of extremely long lasting norms and beliefs influencing today's socioeconomic outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Olsson, Ola & Paik, Christopher, 2015. "Long-Run Cultural Divergence: Evidence From the Neolithic Revolution," Working Papers in Economics 620, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0620
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    File URL: https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/38815
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Gerard Roland, 2011. "Which Dimensions of Culture Matter for Long-Run Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 492-498, May.
    4. Ashraf, Quamrul & Galor, Oded, 2007. "Cultural Assimilation, Cultural Diffusion and the Origin of the Wealth of Nations," CEPR Discussion Papers 6444, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Ashraf, Quamrul & Michalopoulos, Stelios, 2010. "The Climatic Origins of the Neolithic Revolution: Theory and Evidence," MPRA Paper 23137, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. repec:oup:jeurec:v:15:y:2017:i:1:p:1-53. is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Litina, Anastasia, 2012. "Unfavorable land endowment, cooperation, and reversal of fortune," MPRA Paper 39702, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Gerard Roland, 2017. "Culture, Institutions, and the Wealth of Nations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(3), pages 402-416, July.
    9. Jeanet Sinding Bentzen & Nicolai Kaarsen & Asger Moll Wingender, 2017. "Irrigation and Autocracy," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 1-53.
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    12. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Roland, Gérard, 2015. "Culture, Institutions and Democratization," CEPR Discussion Papers 10563, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. How far can cultural differences be traced back?
      by noname in ZeeConomics on 2015-05-25 14:26:08

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    Cited by:

    1. Guerriero, Carmine, 2016. "Endogenous legal traditions and economic outcomes," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 416-433.
    2. Federico, Giovanni & Martinelli, Pablo, 2015. "The Role of Women in Traditional Agriculture: Evidence From Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 10881, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Guerriero, Carmine & Boranbay, Serra, 2012. "Endogenous (In)Formal Institutions," MPRA Paper 71028, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 22 Apr 2016.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Neolithic agriculture; comparative development; Western reversal;

    JEL classification:

    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

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