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Ancestry, Language and Culture

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  • Enrico Spolaore
  • Romain Wacziarg

Abstract

We explore the interrelationships between various measures of cultural distance. We first discuss measures of genetic distance, used in the recent economics literature to capture the degree of relatedness between countries. We next describe several classes of measures of linguistic, religious, and cultural distances. We introduce new measures of cultural distance based on differences in average answers to questions from the World Values Survey. Using a simple theoretical model we hypothesize that ancestral distance, measured by genetic distance, is positively correlated with linguistic, religious, and cultural distance. An empirical exploration of these correlations shows this to be the case. This empirical evidence is consistent with the view that genetic distance is a summary statistic for a wide array of cultural traits transmitted intergenerationally.

Suggested Citation

  • Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2015. "Ancestry, Language and Culture," NBER Working Papers 21242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21242
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    Cited by:

    1. Frédéric Docquier & Riccardo Turati & Jérôme Valette & Chrysovalantis Vasilakis, 2020. "Birthplace diversity and economic growth: evidence from the US states in the Post-World War II period [Cultural diversity and economic growth: evidence from the US during the age of mass migration]," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 321-354.
    2. Axel Dreher & Shu Yu, 2016. "The Alma Mater Effect - Does Foreign Education of Political Leaders Influence Foreign Policy?," CESifo Working Paper Series 5871, CESifo.
    3. Federico Rossi, 2019. "The Relative Efficiency of Skilled Labor across Countries: Measurement and Interpretation," 2019 Meeting Papers 829, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Dhammika Dharmapala, 2021. "A New Measure Of Foreign Rule Based On Genetic Distance," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 59(2), pages 622-647, April.
    5. Lisa Gianmoena & Vicente Rios, 2018. "The Determinants of CO2 Emissions Differentials with Cross-Country Interaction Effects: A Dynamic Spatial Panel Data Bayesian Model Averaging Approach," Discussion Papers 2018/234, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
    6. Marta De Philippis & Federico Rossi, 2021. "Parents, Schools and Human Capital Differences Across Countries," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 1364-1406.
    7. Dombi, Akos & Grigoriadis, Theocharis, 2017. "Ancestry, Diversity & Finance: Evidence from Transition Economies," Discussion Papers 2017/4, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    8. Kukharskyy, Bohdan, 2016. "Relational contracts and global sourcing," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 123-147.
    9. Falk, A. & Becker, A. & Dohmen, T.J. & Enke, B. & Huffman, D. & Sunde, U., 2015. "The nature and predictive power of preferences : global evidence," ROA Research Memorandum 012, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    10. Höckel, Lisa Sofie, 2018. "Collectivism in the labor market: Evidence from second generation immigrants in the United States," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 1347-1369.
    11. van Damme, Nils & Baert, Stijn, 2019. "Home advantage in European international soccer: Which dimension of distance matters?," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal (2007-2020), Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel), vol. 13, pages 1-17.
    12. Francesco Flaviano Russo, 2021. "Conformism, Social Segregation and Cultural Assimilation," CSEF Working Papers 616, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    13. Du, Julan & He, Qing & Zhang, Ce, 2022. "Risk sharing and industrial specialization in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 599-626.
    14. Frédéric Docquier & Riccardo Turati & Jérôme Valette & Chrysovalantis Vasilakis, 2016. "Multiculturalism and Growth: Skill-Specific Evidence from the Post-World War II Period," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2016028, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    15. Guin, Benjamin, 2017. "Culture and household saving," Working Paper Series 2069, European Central Bank.
    16. Camille Laville, 2018. "The econometrical causal analysis of internal conflicts: The evolutions of a growing literature [L’analyse économétrique des conflits internes par l’approche causale : les évolutions d’une littérat," Working Papers hal-01940461, HAL.
    17. Fensore, Irene & Legge, Stefan & Schmid, Lukas, 2022. "Ancestry and international trade," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 33-51.
    18. Russo, Francesco Flaviano, 2021. "Immigration and nationalism: The importance of identity," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
    19. Dao, Thu Hien & Docquier, Frédéric & Parsons, Chris & Peri, Giovanni, 2018. "Migration and development: Dissecting the anatomy of the mobility transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 88-101.
    20. Avner Ben-Ner & John-Gabriel Licht & Jin Park, 2017. "Bifurcated Effects of Place-of-Origin Diversity on Individual and Team Performance: Evidence from Ten Seasons of German Soccer," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(4), pages 555-604, October.
    21. Camille Laville, 2018. "The econometrical causal analysis of internal conflicts: The evolutions of a growing literature [L’analyse économétrique des conflits internes par l’approche causale : les évolutions d’une littérat," CERDI Working papers hal-01940461, HAL.
    22. Choi, Hyeseung & Woo, Hyungsoo & Kim, Ji-Hyun & Yang, Jae-Suk, 2019. "Gravity model for dyadic Olympic competition," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 513(C), pages 447-455.
    23. Höckel, Lisa Sofie, 2016. "Individualism vs. Collectivism - How inherited cultural values affect the labor market outcomes of second generation immigrants in the US," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145856, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    24. Francesco Flaviano Russo, 2018. "Immigration and Nationalism: The Importance of Identity," CSEF Working Papers 511, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    25. Tim Krieger & Laura Renner & Jens Ruhose, 2015. "Genetic Distance and International Migrant Selection," CESifo Working Paper Series 5453, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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