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The Origins of the Division of Labor in Pre-Modern Times

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  • Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio

    () (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile)

  • Özak, Ömer

    () (Southern Methodist University)

Abstract

This research explores the historical roots of the division of labor in pre-modern societies. It advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that intra-ethnic diversity had a positive effect on the division of labor across ethnicities in the pre-modern era. Exploiting a variety of identification strategies and a novel ethnic level dataset combining geocoded ethnographic, linguistic and genetic data, it establishes that higher levels of intra-ethnic diversity were conducive to economic specialization in the pre-modern era. The findings are robust to a host of geographical, institutional, cultural and historical confounders, and suggest that variation in intra-ethnic diversity is the main predictor of the division of labor in pre-modern times.

Suggested Citation

  • Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio & Özak, Ömer, 2018. "The Origins of the Division of Labor in Pre-Modern Times," IZA Discussion Papers 11554, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11554
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    comparative development; division of labor; economic specialization; intra-ethnic diversity; cultural diversity; population diversity; genetic diversity; linguistic diversity;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • 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
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • O44 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Environment and Growth
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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