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The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity: Theory and Evidence

  • Michalopoulos, Stelios

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.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 11531.

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Date of creation: 19 Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11531
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  1. Quamrul Ashraf & Stelios Michalopoulos, 2010. "The Climatic Origins of the Neolithic Revolution: Theory and Evidence," Department of Economics Working Papers 2010-02, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Feb 2011.
  2. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2006. "On the Theory of Ethnic Conflict," CEP Discussion Papers dp0732, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2007. "The Diffusion of Development," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0704, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  4. Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2006. "From Farmers to Merchants, Voluntary Conversions and Diaspora: A Human Capital Interpretation of Jewish History," CEPR Discussion Papers 6006, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Curtin,Philip D., 1984. "Cross-Cultural Trade in World History," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521269315, September.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Bockstette, Valerie & Chanda, Areendam & Putterman, Louis, 2002. "States and Markets: The Advantage of an Early Start," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 347-69, December.
  8. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2006. "Poverty Traps, Distance, and Diversity: The Migration Connection," NBER Working Papers 12549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Banerjee, Abhijit & Somanathan, Rohini, 2007. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 287-314, March.
  10. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
  11. Pelle Ahlerup & Ola Olsson, 2012. "The roots of ethnic diversity," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 71-102, June.
  12. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  13. Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2008. "On the Salience of Ethnic Conflict," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2185-2202, December.
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