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Ancestry and Development: New Evidence

We revisit the relationship between ancestral distance and barriers to the di§usion of de- velopment by replicating previous results with a new genomic dataset on human microsatellite variation. We again Önd a statistically and economically signiÖcant e§ect of ancestral distance from the technological frontier on income per capita. The historical pattern of the e§ect is hump shaped, peaking between 1870 and 1913, and declining steeply afterwards. This suggests that ancestral distance acts as a temporary barrier to the di§usion of development. We also conÖrm that ancestral distance from the frontier is a barrier to the spread of speciÖc technologies and institutions in modern times.

This paper was published as: Spolaore, E. and R. Wacziarg, Ancestry and Development: New Evidence, Journal of Applied Econometrics, vol. 33, no. 5, August 2018, pp. 748-762.