The Diffusion of Development: Along Genetic or Geographic Lines?



Why are some societies still poor? Recent research suggests that a country's ‘genetic distance’—a measure of the time elapsed since two populations had common ancestry—from the US is a significant predictor of development even after controlling for an ostensibly exhaustive list of geographic, historical, religious and linguistic variables. We find, by contrast, that the correlation of genetic distance from the US and GDP per capita disappears with the addition of controls for geography, including distance from the equator and a dummy for Sub-Saharan Africa. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.