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Geographical Roots of the Coevolution of Cultural and Linguistic Traits

Author

Listed:
  • 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
    Note: EFG POL
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    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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