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The Origins and Long-Run Consequences of the Division of Labor

Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio and Özak, Ömer (2016): The Origins and Long-Run Consequences of the Division of Labor.

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This research explores the historical roots and persistent effects of the division of labor in pre-modern societies. Exploiting a novel ethnic-level dataset, which combines geocoded ethnographic, linguistic and genetic data, it advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that population diversity had a positive effect on the division of labor, which translated into persistent differences in economic development. Specifically, it establishes that pre-modern economic specialization was conducive to pre-modern statehood, urbanization and social hierarchy. Moreover, it demonstrates that higher levels of pre-modern economic specialization are associated with greater skill-biased occupational heterogeneity, economic complexity and economic development in the contemporary era.

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