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The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity: Theory and Evidence

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  • Michalopoulos, Stelios

Abstract

This research examines theoretically and empirically the economic origins of ethnolinguistic diversity. The empirical analysis constructs detailed data on the distribution of land quality and elevation across contiguous regions, virtual and real countries, and shows that variation in elevation and land quality has contributed �significantly to the emergence and persistence of ethnic fractionalization. The empirical and historical evidence support the theoretical analysis, according to which heterogeneous land endowments generated region specific� human capital, limiting population mobility and leading to the formation of localized ethnicities and languages. The research contributes to the understanding of the emergence of ethnicities and their spatial distribution and offers a distinction between the natural, geographically driven, versus the artificial, man-made, components of contemporary ethnic diversity.

Suggested Citation

  • Michalopoulos, Stelios, 2008. "The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity: Theory and Evidence," MPRA Paper 11531, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11531
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    Cited by:

    1. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-2041, August.
    2. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompqllr09iatsh0to2 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Casey, Gregory P. & Owen, Ann L., 2014. "Inequality and Fractionalization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 32-50.
    4. Mesbah Motamed & Raymond Florax & William Masters, 2014. "Agriculture, transportation and the timing of urbanization: Global analysis at the grid cell level," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 339-368, September.
    5. Durante, Ruben, 2009. "Risk, Cooperation and the Economic Origins of Social Trust: an Empirical Investigation," MPRA Paper 25887, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Guerriero, C., 2009. "Democracy, Judicial Attitudes and Heterogeneity: The Civil Versus Common Law Tradition," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0917, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    7. Motamed, Mesbah J. & Florax, Raymond J.G.M. & Masters, William J., 2009. "Geography and Economic Transition: Global Spatial Analysis at the Grid Cell Level," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49589, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    8. Philipp Kolo, 2011. "Questioning Ethnic Fragmentation's Exogeneity - Drivers of Changing Ethnic Boundaries," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 210, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Patricia Beeson & Tara Watson & Lara Shore-Sheppard, 2010. "Local Fiscal Policies and Urban Wage Structures," Department of Economics Working Papers 2010-05, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    10. Charles J. Cook, 2011. "The Role of Lactose Tolerance in Pre-Colonial Development," Departmental Working Papers 2011-12, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ethnic Diversity; Geography; Technological Progress; Human Capital; Colonization;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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