The 'Out of Africa' Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development

99 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2011

See all articles by Quamrul H. Ashraf

Quamrul H. Ashraf

Williams College - Department of Economics

Oded Galor

Brown University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2011

Abstract

This research argues that deep-rooted factors, determined tens of thousands of years ago, had a significant effect on the course of economic development from the dawn of human civilization to the contemporary era. It advances and empirically establishes the hypothesis that, in the course of the exodus of Homo sapiens out of Africa, variation in migratory distance from the cradle of humankind to various settlements across the globe affected genetic diversity and has had a long-lasting effect on the pattern of comparative economic development that is not captured by geographical, institutional, and cultural factors. In particular, the level of genetic diversity within a society is found to have a hump-shaped effect on development outcomes in both the pre-colonial and the modern era, reflecting the trade-off between the beneficial and the detrimental effects of diversity on productivity. While the intermediate level of genetic diversity prevalent among Asian and European populations has been conducive for development, the high degree of diversity among African populations and the low degree of diversity among Native American populations have been a detrimental force in the development of these regions.

Keywords: Comparative development, Human genetic diversity, Income per capita, Land productivity, Neolithic Revolution, Population density, The 'Out of Africa' hypothesis

JEL Classification: N10, N30, N50, O10, O50, Z10

Suggested Citation

Ashraf, Quamrul H. and Galor, Oded, The 'Out of Africa' Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development (August 2011). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8500. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1908548

Quamrul H. Ashraf (Contact Author)

Williams College - Department of Economics ( email )

24 Hopkins Hall Drive
Williamstown, MA 01267
United States
(413) 597-2476 (Phone)
(413) 597-4045 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.williams.edu/profile/qha1/

Oded Galor

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

Providence, RI 02912
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.brown.edu/fac/Oded_Galor/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.brown.edu/fac/Oded_Galor/

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