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Ancestry, Language and Culture

Enrico Spolaore and Romain Wacziarg

No 10644, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: We explore the interrelationships between various measures of cultural distance. We ?first discuss measures of genetic distance, used in the recent economics literature to capture the degree of relatedness between countries. We next describe several classes of measures of linguistic, religious, and cultural distances. We introduce new measures of cultural distance based on differences in average answers to questions from the World Values Survey. Using a simple theoretical model we hypothesize that ancestral distance, measured by genetic distance, is positively correlated with linguistic, religious, and cultural distance. An empirical exploration of these correlations shows this to be the case. This empirical evidence is consistent with the view that genetic distance is a summary statistic for a wide array of cultural traits transmitted intergenerationally.

Keywords: Ancestry; Barriers; Cladistics; Cultural distance; Genetic distance; Linguistic distance; Religious distance; World values survey (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F14 O11 O33 O47 O57 Z1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cul, nep-evo and nep-gro
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (45)

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Working Paper: Ancestry, Language and Culture (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Ancestry, Language and Culture (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Ancestry, Language and Culture (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Ancestry, Language and Culture (2015) Downloads
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