Trade Lane Megacities. Determinismo geográfico y cultural y desarrollo económico.

Un reciente artículo (descargable en PDF) que explora con métodos estadísticos los efectos de la geografía y cultura  en el desarrollo económico.  Me interesa mucho esta temática entre otras cosas aunque no solo, por su relación con la teoría de la ruta central y abro una entada para discutir de manera crítica el artículo cuando tenga tiempo de leerlo.

Algunos extractos de la primera sección introductoria:

Our starting point is the long-standing debate on geography and development.

There is no doubt that geographic factors, such as latitude and climate, are highly correlated with development, but the interpretation of this correlation remains hotly debatedWe review the literature on the legacy of geographic conditions in Section 2.

A major theme emerging from the recent literature is that key human characteristics afecting development are transmitted from one generation to the next within populations over the long run, explaining why deep historical factors still a¤ect outcomes today…We survey contributions to this new literature in Section 3.

In Section 4 we provide a general taxonomy to discuss di¤erent channels through which inherited human characteristics may impact economic development. Our discussion builds on an extensive evolutionary literature on the complex interactions among genetic, epigenetic, and cultural transmission mechanisms, and on the coevolution of biological and cultural traits as well as on a growing literature on cultural transmission and economic outcomes.

de la sección 2 sobre el determinismo geográfico:

The hypothesis that geographic factors a¤ect productivity and economic development has a long pedigree…

Table 1, column 1 shows that a small set of geographic variables (absolute latitude, the percentage of a country’s land area located in tropical climates, a landlocked country dummy, an island country dummy) can jointly account for 44% of contemporary variation in log per capita income, with quantitatively the largest e¤ect coming from absolute latitude (excluding latitude causes the R2 to fall to 0:29). This result captures the ‡avor of the above-cited literature documenting a strong correlation between geography and income per capita.

Interesante, la variable más determinante parece ser la latitud absoluta.

Y de las conclusiones:

The recent literature on economic growth and development has increasingly focused on very long-run efects of geographic, historical, and cultural factors on productivity and incom per capita. In this article we have reviewed this line of research, and presented empirical evidence documenting such efects. In conclusion, what have we learned from this new literature?

A …first message from this research is that technology and productivity tend to be highly persistent even at very long horizons. A major fin…nding is the indirect and persistent efect of prehistorical biogeographic conditions. …countries using the most advanced technologies in the year 1000 B.C. tend to remain the users of the most advanced technologies in 1500 and today, particularly if we correct for their populations’changing ancestry…

The importance of controlling for populations’ ancestry highlights the second message from this literature: long-term persistence holds at the level of populations rather than locations. A focus on  populations rather than locations helps us understand both persistence and reversal of fortune, and  sheds light on the spread of economic development

The third message from this literature, then, is that long-term genealogical links across populations play an important role in explaining the transmission of technological and institutional knowledge and the di¤usion of economic development.

If current development is a function of very long-term historical factors, are development policies hopeless? Not necessarily. The evidence is consistent with cautious optimism about our ability to overcome long-term constraints, for three major reasons

(continuará).

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