Development Policy Given 'Deep Roots'
46 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2017 Last revised: 6 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 4, 2017
Recent research examines the effects on economic development of some "deep roots" such as geography, climate, pathogen burdens, and genetic diversity. At the country level, these variables turn out to explain much of the variance in many development outcomes. This paper analyzes new data about the country-level frequencies of a particular genetic polymorphism that responds to climate and disease and in turn affects human traits and values, and we show frequencies are strongly associated with various measures of development. We explore the interpretations and misinterpretations of such findings. Much more genetic information will be available in the years ahead, and we hope this paper serves as a guide to the uses and misuses in development economics of findings about genes and other deep roots of development.
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