DP15345 The Evolutionary Origins of the Wealth of Nations

Author(s): Quamrul H. Ashraf, Oded Galor, Marc Klemp
Publication Date: October 2020
Keyword(s): Comparative development, entrepreneurial spirit, human evolution, interpersonal diversity, loss aversion, natural selection, preference for child quality, the, Time Preference
JEL(s): N10, N30, O11, Z10
Programme Areas: Development Economics, Economic History, Macroeconomics and Growth
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15345

This essay explores the deepest roots of comparative economic development. It underscores the significance of evolutionary processes since the Neolithic Revolution in shaping a society's endowment of fundamental traits, such as predisposition towards child quality, time preference, loss aversion, and entrepreneurial spirit, that have contributed to differential paths of technological progress, human-capital formation, and economic development across societies. Moreover, it highlights the indelible mark of the exodus of Homo sapiens from Africa tens of thousands of years ago on the degree of interpersonal population diversity across the globe and examines the impact of this variation in diversity for comparative economic, cultural, and institutional development across countries, regions, and ethnic groups.