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Ancestry and Development: New Evidence

We revisit the relationship between ancestral distance and barriers to the diffusion of development 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 afterward. This suggests that ancestral distance acts as a temporary barrier to the diffusion of development. We also conÖrm that ancestral distance from the frontier is a barrier to the spread of specific 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.