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American Economic Review: Vol. 103 No. 3 (May 2013)


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Genetic Diversity and the Origins of Cultural Fragmentation

Article Citation

Ashraf, Quamrul, and Oded Galor. 2013. "Genetic Diversity and the Origins of Cultural Fragmentation." American Economic Review, 103(3): 528-33.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.528


The origin of the uneven distribution of ethnic and cultural fragmentation across countries has been underexplored, despite the importance attributed to the effects of diversity on the stability and prosperity of nations. Building on the role of deeply-rooted biogeographical forces in comparative development, this research empirically demonstrates that genetic diversity, predominantly determined during the prehistoric "out of Africa" migration of humans, is an underlying cause of various existing manifestations of ethnolinguistic heterogeneity. Further research may revolutionize our understanding of how economic development and the composition of human capital across the globe are affected by these deeply-rooted factors.

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Author Disclosure Statement(s) (329.99 KB) | Online Appendix (113.96 KB) | Download Data Set (305.06 KB)


Ashraf, Quamrul (Williams College)
Galor, Oded (Brown U)

JEL Classifications

J11: Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
Z13: Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification

American Economic Review

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