Geographical Roots of the Coevolution of Cultural and Linguistic Traits

85 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2018

See all articles by Oded Galor

Oded Galor

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

Ömer Özak

Southern Methodist University - Department of Economics; IZA

Assaf Sarid

University of Haifa

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Abstract

This research explores the geographical origins of the coevolution of cultural and linguistic traits in the course of human history, relating the geographical roots of long-term orientation to the structure of the future tense, the agricultural determinants of gender bias to the presence of sex-based grammatical gender, and the ecological origins of hierarchical orientation to the existence of politeness distinctions. The study advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that: (i) geographical characteristics that were conducive to higher natural return to agricultural investment contributed to the existing cross-language variations in the structure of the future tense, (ii) the agricultural determinants of gender gap in agricultural productivity fostered the existence of sex-based grammatical gender, and (iii) the ecological origins of hierarchical societies triggered the emergence of politeness distinctions.

Keywords: comparative development, cultural evolution, language structures, future tense, politeness distinctions, long-term orientation, grammatical gender, gender bias, hierarchy, emergence of states

JEL Classification: O10, Z10, Z13

Suggested Citation

Galor, Oded and Özak, Ömer and Sarid, Assaf, Geographical Roots of the Coevolution of Cultural and Linguistic Traits. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11982. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3301741

Oded Galor (Contact Author)

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/

Ömer Özak

Southern Methodist University - Department of Economics ( email )

Dallas, TX 75275
United States
+1-214-768-2755 (Phone)
+1-214-768-1821 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://omerozak.com

IZA

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Assaf Sarid

University of Haifa ( email )

Mount Carmel
Haifa, 31905
Israel

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