July 3, 2006

Around the Web:

- GNXP's Darth Quixote asks ten questions of Steven Pinker.

- Chris Roach reflects on the 40th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution

- Michael Blowhard says nice things about me, along with much else of interest about the impact of the Web on written discourse in America.

- Genetic distance of populations correlates with economic differences:

The Diffusion of Development
by Enrico Spolaore and Romain Wacziarg

This paper studies the barriers to the diffusion of development across countries over the very long-run. We find that genetic distance, a measure associated with the amount of time elapsed since two populations' last common ancestors, bears a statistically and economically significant correlation with pairwise income differences, even when controlling for various measures of geographical isolation, and other cultural, climatic and historical difference measures. These results hold not only for contemporary income differences, but also for income differences measured since 1500 and for income differences within Europe. We uncover similar patterns of coefficients for the proximate determinants of income differences, particularly for differences in human capital and institutions. The paper discusses the economic mechanisms that are consistent with these facts. We present a framework in which differences in human characteristics transmitted across generations - including culturally transmitted characteristics - can affect income differences by creating barriers to the diffusion of innovations, even when they have no direct effect on productivity. The empirical evidence over time and space is consistent with this "barriers" interpretation. [More]

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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