Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Population Diversity, Division of Labor and Comparative Development

Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio and Özak, Ömer (2016): Population Diversity, Division of Labor and Comparative Development.

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Abstract

This research explores the emergence and prevalence of economic specialization and trade in pre-modern societies. It advances the hypothesis, and establishes empirically that population diversity had a positive causal effect on economic specialization and trade. Based on a novel ethnic level dataset combining geocoded ethnographic, linguistic and genetic data, this research exploits the exogenous variation in population diversity generated by the ``Out-of-Africa'' migration of anatomically modern humans to causally establish that higher levels of population diversity were conducive to economic specialization and the emergence of trade-related institutions that, in turn, translated into pre-modern era differences in comparative development. Additionally, this research provides suggestive evidence that regions historically inhabited by pre-modern societies with high levels of economic specialization have higher levels of contemporary occupational heterogeneity, economic complexity and development.

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