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Culture, Diffusion, and Economic Development

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  • Harutyunyan, Ani
  • Özak, Ömer

Abstract

This research explores the effects of culture on technological diffusion and economic development. It shows that culture's direct effects on development and barrier effects to technological diffusion are, in general, observationally equivalent. In particular, using a large set of cultural measures, it establishes empirically that pairwise differences in contemporary development are associated with pairwise cultural differences relative to the technological frontier, only in cases where observational equivalence holds. Additionally, it establishes that differences in cultural traits that are correlated with genetic and linguistic distances are statistically and economically significantly correlated with differences in economic development. These results highlight the difficulty of disentangling the direct and barrier effects of culture, while lending credence to the idea that common ancestry generates persistence and plays a central role in economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Harutyunyan, Ani & Özak, Ömer, 2016. "Culture, Diffusion, and Economic Development," MPRA Paper 70502, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:70502
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Harutyunyan, Ani & Özak, Ömer, 2017. "Culture, diffusion, and economic development: The problem of observational equivalence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 94-100.
    2. Oded Galor & Omer Ozak & Assaf Sarid, 2016. "Origins and Consequences of Lanquage Structures," Working Papers 2016-7, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    3. Assaf Sarid & Oded Galor, "undated". "Geographical Origins and Economic Consequences of Language Structures," Working Papers WP2017/4, University of Haifa, Department of Economics.
    4. Ruxanda Berlinschi & Ani Harutyunyan, 2016. "Do migrants think differently? Evidence from East European and post-Soviet states," LICOS Discussion Papers 38116, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    5. Jaeggi, Adrian & Legge, Stefan & Schmid, Lukas, 2018. "Dyadic value distance: Determinants and consequences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 48-53.
    6. Lecce, Giampaolo & Ogliari, Laura, 2019. "Institutional Transplant and Cultural Proximity: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Prussia," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1060-1093, December.
    7. Oded Galor & Ömer Özak & Assaf Sarid, 2018. "Geographical Origins of Language Structures," Departmental Working Papers 1801, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    8. Andrew Dickens, 2018. "Population relatedness and cross-country idea flows: evidence from book translations," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 367-386, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Comparative economic development; economic growth; culture; barriers to technological diffusion; genetic distances; linguistic distances;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O20 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - General
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • 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
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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