Makro-Pic Economics of the Very Long Run: Genes, Memes, and Economic Development

Lecture number:
Block Seminar: June, 19th-20th, 2015.
Location: Heyne Haus
Kickoff Meeting: April, 22nd, 2015, 4pm, room KWZ 0.604
Submission of Application Form: April, 30th
Prep Meeting "How to write a seminar paper": May 7th, 5pm, room KWZ 2.738
Final Meeting: June, 10th, 4pm, room KWZ 0.604 Seminar Info: info
Course material for participants is available at the course material webpage


In this bachelor seminar we explore the role of genetic and cultural transmission of human characteristics and traits for economic performance at the individual level and for the aggregate performance of societies from pre-Columbian times until the present day. Themes: The Out of Africa Hypothesis. Persistence of Fortune. Ethnic Diversity and Economic Outcomes. Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes. And more...


1. Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development

Reference: Ashraf, Q., and Galor, O. (2013). The “Out of Africa” hypothesis, human genetic diversity, and comparative economic development. American Economic Review 103, 1-46.

2. The Diffusion of Development

Reference: Enrico Spolaore and Romain Wacziarg. (2009). The diffusion of development. Quarterly Journal of Economics 124, 469-529.

3. Population Flows and Long Run Growth

Reference: Putterman, L., and Weil, D. N. (2010). Post-1500 population flows and the long run determinants of economic growth and inequality. Quarterly Journal of Economics 125, 1627-1682.

4. The Persistence of Fortune

Reference: Chanda, A., Cook, C. J., and Putterman, L. (2013). Persistence of fortune: Accounting for population movements, there was no post-Columbian reversal. American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics 6, 1-28.

5. Fractionalization and Development

Reference: Alesina, A., Devleeschauwer, A., Easterly, W., Kurlat, S., and Wacziarg, R. (2003). Fractionalization. Journal of Economic Growth. 8, 155-194

6. The Roots of Ethnic Diversity

Reference: Ahlerup, P., and Olsson, O. (2012). The roots of ethnic diversity. Journal of Economic Growth. 17, 71-102.

7. Nature and Nurture Effects On Children’s Outcomes

Reference: Sacerdote, B. (2010). Nature and nurture effects On children’s outcomes: What have we learned from studies of twins and adoptees? Handbook of Social Economics, Volume 1A, 1-30.

8. The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes

References: Dohmen, T., Falk, A., Huffman, D., and Sunde, U. (2012). The intergenerational transmission of risk and trust attitudes. Review of Economic Studies 79, 645-677.

9. The Origins of Intergenerational Associations

Reference: Björklund, A., Lindahl, M., and Plug, E. (2006). The origins of intergenerational associations: Lessons from Swedish adoption data. Quarterly Journal of Economics 121, 999-1028.

10. The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance

Reference: Case, A., Fertig, A., and Paxson, C. (2005). The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance. Journal of Health Economics 24, 365-389.

11. The Origins of Savings Behavior

Reference: Cronqvist, H., and Siegel, S. (2015). The origins of savings behavior. Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming.

12. Genetic Variation in Financial Decision-Making

Reference: Cesarini, D., Johannesson, M., Lichtenstein, P., Sandewall, Ö., and Wallace, B. (2010). Genetic variation in financial decision-making. Journal of Finance 65, 1725-1754.

13. Family Ties

Reference: Alesina, A., and Giuliano, P. (2014). Family ties. Handbook of Economic Growth 2, 177-215.

14. The Role of Lactase Persistence in Precolonial Development

Reference: Cook, C. J. (2014). The role of lactase persistence in precolonial development. Journal of Economic Growth 19, 369-406.

15. The Cultural Origins of Institutions and Development

Reference: Maseland, R. (2013). Parasitical cultures? The cultural origins of institutions and development. Journal of Economic Growth 18, 109-136.