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Geographical Roots of the Coevolution of Cultural and Linguistic Traits

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  • Oded Galor
  • Ömer Özak
  • Assaf Sarid

Abstract

This research explores the geographical origins of the coevolution of cultural and linguistic traits in the course of human history, relating the geographical roots of long-term orientation to the structure of the future tense, the agricultural determinants of gender bias to the presence of sex-based grammatical gender, and the ecological origins of hierarchical orientation to the existence of politeness distinctions. The study advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that: (i) geographical characteristics that were conducive to higher natural return to agricultural investment contributed to the existing cross-language variations in the structure of the future tense, (ii) the agricultural determinants of gender gap in agricultural productivity fostered the existence of sex-based grammatical gender, and (iii) the ecological origins of hierarchical societies triggered the emergence of politeness distinctions.

Suggested Citation

  • Oded Galor & Ömer Özak & Assaf Sarid, 2018. "Geographical Roots of the Coevolution of Cultural and Linguistic Traits," NBER Working Papers 25289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25289
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    Cited by:

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    2. Beblo, Miriam & Görges, Luise & Markowsky, Eva, 2020. "Gender Matters in Language and Economic Behaviour: Can we Measure a Causal Cognition Effect of Speaking?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    3. Andrew Dickens, 2020. "Understanding Ethnolinguistic Differences: The Roles of Geography and Trade," Working Papers 1901, Brock University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2021.
    4. Adelaide Baronchelli & Alessandra Foresta & Roberto Ricciuti, 2020. "The Words That Keep People Apart. Official Language, Accountability and Fiscal Capacity," CESifo Working Paper Series 8437, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • 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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