Ethnogenesis and Statelessness

36 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2019 Last revised: 14 Jan 2020

See all articles by Vincent Geloso

Vincent Geloso

Bates College; University of Western Ontario - King's University College

Louis Rouanet

George Mason University

Date Written: January 13, 2020


The process of ethnogenesis (i.e. the formation of new ethnic groups) can be considered equivalent to the production of "governance goods" in situation of statelessness. The process of ethnogenesis is a response to the problem of social distance between heterogeneous groups which is a barrier to trade. As an investment in governance, ethnogenesis reduces this trade barrier and expands the scope for specialization. To argue the case, this paper relies on two examples of peaceful and productive relations between Native Indians and European settlers in Canada before the mid-19th century. The emergence of "hybrid" cultural groups and identities fostered peaceful relations and permitted trade to occur in borderlands areas where state rule was virtually nonexistent. This in turn facilitated the transatlantic fur trade. Both these examples suggest that cultural processes can be endogenous responses to the production of governance.

Keywords: Ethnogenesis, Statelessness, Property Rights, Canadian Economic History, Native Americans

JEL Classification: N41, P14, P48, L22

Suggested Citation

Geloso, Vincent and Rouanet, Louis, Ethnogenesis and Statelessness (January 13, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Vincent Geloso (Contact Author)

Bates College ( email )

Department of Economics
Lewiston, ME
United States

University of Western Ontario - King's University College ( email )

266 Epworth Avenue
London, Ontario N6A 2M3

Louis Rouanet

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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