Discussion paper

DP15345 The Ancient Origins of the Wealth of Nations

This essay explores the deepest roots of economic development. It underscores the significance of evolutionary processes in shaping fundamental individual and cultural traits, such as time preference, risk and loss aversion, and predisposition towards child quality, that have contributed to technological progress, human-capital formation, and economic development. Moreover, it highlights the persistent 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.


Ashraf, Q, O Galor and M Klemp (2020), ‘DP15345 The Ancient Origins of the Wealth of Nations‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 15345. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp15345