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Colonization and Genetics of Comparative Development

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    This paper examines the hypothesis that genealogical closeness to populations that are at the frontier of technological innovations facilitates the diffusion of development (e.g., Spolaore and Wacziarg, 2009). Proponents of this hypothesis argue that it is supported by a strong negative cross-country correlation between genetic distance to the United States and income per capita. This paper argues that there is no causal relationship between these two variables. This is because there are important variables, such as European settler mortality at the time of colonization that simultaneously affect countries' genetic distance to the technological frontier and their current economic performance. Controlling for confounding factors removes the statistical association between genetic distance and economic performance. IV estimates also confirm the lack of significant statistical relationship between genetic distance and economic performance. Further, fixed effect estimates show that those countries that became genetically closer to the world technological frontier over the past 500 years did not become richer because of it.

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    Paper provided by Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University in its series Discussion Papers with number dp13-11.

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    Length: 47
    Date of creation: Oct 2013
    Date of revision: 29 Oct 2013
    Handle: RePEc:sfu:sfudps:dp13-11
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
    Phone: (778)782-3508
    Fax: (778)782-5944
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    Order Information: Postal: Working Paper Coordinator, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
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    1. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2008. "Income and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 808-42, June.
    3. Campbell, Douglas L. & Pyun, Ju Hyun, 2014. "The Diffusion of Development: Along Genetic or Geographic Lines?," MPRA Paper 57933, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Klaus Desmet & Michel Le Breton & Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin & Shlomo Weber , 2008. "Stability of Nations and Genetic Diversity ," Working Papers 003-08, International School of Economics at TSU, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.
    5. Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2011. "Long-Term Barriers to the International Diffusion of Innovations," CEPR Discussion Papers 8541, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1856, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    8. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:1:p:83-116 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 6849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Louis Putterman & Valerie Bockstette, 2000. "States and Markets:the Advantage of an Early Start," Working Papers 2000-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    11. Luis Angeles, 2012. "Is there a role for genetics in economic development?," Working Papers 2012_02, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    12. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    13. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2005. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange," CEPR Discussion Papers 4837, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2012. "The European Origins of Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 18162, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:3:p:1095-1131 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, 09.
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