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The persistent effects of novelty-seeking traits on comparative economic development

Erkan Gören ()

Journal of Development Economics, 2017, vol. 126, issue C, 112-126

Abstract: The issue of novelty-seeking traits have been related to important economic attitudes such as risk-taking, entrepreneurial, and explorative behaviors that foster technological progress and, thus, economic development. However, numerous molecular genetic studies have shown that novelty-seeking bearing individuals are prone to certain psychological “disadvantages” such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), leading to occupational and educational difficulties in modern societies. Using a recent compilation of DRD4 exon III allele frequencies – a particular gene variant that population geneticists have found to be sometimes associated with the human phenotype of novelty-seeking behavior – this paper advances a new country-level measure on the prevalence of novelty-seeking traits for a large number of countries worldwide. The results suggest a stable non-monotonic inverted U-shaped relationship between the country-level DRD4 exon III allele frequency measure and economic development. This finding is suggestive of the potential “benefits” and “costs” of novelty-seeking traits for the aggregate economy.

Keywords: Novelty-seeking behavior; Entrepreneurial traits; Economic development; Natural selection; Biogeography; DRD4 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N50 O10 O50 Z10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:126:y:2017:i:c:p:112-126