IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Macrogenoeconomics of Comparative Development


  • Ashraf, Quamrul

    () (Williams College)

  • Galor, Oded

    () (Brown University)


The importance of evolutionary forces for comparative economic performance across societies has been the focus of a vibrant literature, highlighting the roles played by the Neolithic Revolution and the prehistoric "out of Africa" migration of anatomically modern humans in generating worldwide variations in the composition of human traits. This essay surveys this literature and examines the contribution of a recent hypothesis regarding the evolutionary origins of comparative economic development, set forth in Nicholas Wade's A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, to this important line of research.

Suggested Citation

  • Ashraf, Quamrul & Galor, Oded, 2017. "The Macrogenoeconomics of Comparative Development," IZA Discussion Papers 10474, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10474

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert Inklaar & Marcel P. Timmer, 2015. "The Next Generation of the Penn World Table," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(10), pages 3150-3182, October.
    2. Emilio Depetris-Chauvin & Ömer Özak, 2015. "Population Diversity, Division of Labor and the Emergence of Trade and State," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 014228, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    3. Oded Galor & Ömer Özak, 2016. "The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 3064-3103, October.
    4. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    5. Galor, Oded & Michalopoulos, Stelios, 2012. "Evolution and the growth process: Natural selection of entrepreneurial traits," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 759-780.
    6. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2013. "Genetic Diversity and the Origins of Cultural Fragmentation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 528-533, May.
    7. Oded Galor, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory and Comparative Development," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 2, pages 9-21, April-Jun.
    8. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2006. "Das Human-Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 85-117.
    9. Collins, Jason & Baer, Boris & Weber, Ernst Juerg, 2014. "Economic Growth And Evolution: Parental Preference For Quality And Quantity Of Offspring," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(08), pages 1773-1796, December.
    10. C. Cook, 2014. "The role of lactase persistence in precolonial development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 369-406, December.
    11. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2009. "Inequality in Landownership, the Emergence of Human-Capital Promoting Institutions, and the Great Divergence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 143-179.
    12. Jason Collins & Boris Baer & Ernst Weber, 2015. "Sexual selection, conspicuous consumption and economic growth," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 189-206, July.
    13. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2007. "The Neolithic Revolution and Contemporary Variations in Life Expectancy," Working Papers 2007-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    14. David Cesarini & Christopher T. Dawes & Magnus Johannesson & Paul Lichtenstein & Björn Wallace, 2009. "Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk Taking," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 809-842.
    15. Armin Falk & Anke Becker & Thomas Dohmen & Benjamin Enke & David B. Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2017. "Global Evidence on Economic Preferences," NBER Working Papers 23943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. C. Justin Cook, 2015. "The Natural Selection of Infectious Disease Resistance and Its Effect on Contemporary Health," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 742-757, October.
    17. Ager, Philipp & Brückner, Markus, 2013. "Immigrants' Genes: Genetic Diversity and Economic Development in the US," MPRA Paper 51906, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Introductory Chapters,in: A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World Princeton University Press.
    19. Charles J. Cook, 2011. "The Role of Lactose Tolerance in Pre-Colonial Development," Departmental Working Papers 2011-12, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    20. Hastie, Nicholas D. & van der Loos, Matthijs J. H. M. & Vitart, Veronique & Völzke, Henry & Wellmann, Jürgen & Yu, Lei & Zhao, Wei & Allik, Jüri & Attia, John R. & Bandinelli, Stefania & Bastardot,, 2013. "GWAS of 126,559 Individuals Identifies Genetic Variants Associated with Educational Attainment," Scholarly Articles 13383543, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Furukawa, Yuichi & Lai, Tat-kei & Sato, Kenji, 2017. "Receptivity and Innovation," MPRA Paper 81536, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Casey, Gregory & Klemp, Marc, 2016. "Instrumental Variables in the Long Run," MPRA Paper 68696, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Faria, Hugo J. & Montesinos-Yufa, Hugo M. & Morales, Daniel R. & Navarro, Carlos E., 2016. "Unbundling the roles of human capital and institutions in economic development," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(S), pages 108-128.

    More about this item


    comparative development; human evolution; natural selection; genes; race; the out of Africa hypothesis; genetic diversity;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10474. 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: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.