Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Geographical Origins and Economic Consequences of Language Structures

Author(s): Assaf Sarid, Oded Galor and Omer Ozak

Publication Date: March 2017

Keyword(s): Comparative development, Cultural Evolution, education, Future Tense, Grammatical Gender, Human Capital, Language Structure and Politeness Distinctions

Programme Area(s): Economic History and Macroeconomics and Growth

Abstract: This research explores the economic causes and consequences of language structures. It advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that variations in pre-industrial geographical characteristics that were conducive to higher returns to agricultural investment, gender gaps in agricultural productivity, and the emergence of hierarchical societies, are at the root of existing cross-language variations in the structure of the future tense and the presence of grammatical gender and politeness distinctions. Moreover, the research suggests that while language structures have largely reflected past human experience and ancestral cultural traits, they have independently affected human behavior and economic outcomes.

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Bibliographic Reference

Sarid, A, Galor, O and Ozak, O. 2017. 'Geographical Origins and Economic Consequences of Language Structures'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.