DP5807 Genetic, Cultural and Geographical Distances

Author(s): Paola Giuliano, Antonio Spilimbergo, Giovanni Tonon
Publication Date: September 2006
Keyword(s): cultural economics, genetics, geography, trade, transport costs
JEL(s): F10, Z10
Programme Areas: International Macroeconomics, International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=5807

This paper investigates how the measures of genetic distance between populations, which have been used in anthropology and historical linguistics, can be used in economics. What does the correlation between genetic distance and economic variables mean? Using the measure of genetic distance, a newly-collected database on transport costs, as well as more refined measures of geography within Europe, we show that i) geography explains both genetic distance and transportation costs between European countries, and ii) genetic distance does not explain economic outcomes once we control for geography. We conclude that genetic distance in economics capture transportation costs between countries and not cultural differences.