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Publicado en: Documento de trabajo

The Origins and Long-Run Consequences of the Division of Labor

Emilio Depetris-Chauvin; Ömer Özak

Documento de Trabajo IE-PUC, N° 471, 2017.

This research explores the historical roots and persistent effects of the division of labor in premodern societies. Exploiting a novel ethnic-level dataset, which combines geocoded ethnographic, linguistic and genetic data, it advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that population diversity had a positive effect on the division of labor, which translated into persistent differences in economic development. Specifically, it establishes that pre-modern economic specialization was conducive to pre-modern statehood, urbanization and social hierarchy. Moreover, it demonstrates that higher levels of pre-modern economic specialization are associated with greater skill-biased occupational heterogeneity, economic complexity and economic development in the contemporary era.

Keywords: Comparative Development, Division of Labor, Economic Specialization, Population Diversity, Cultural Diversity, Persistence, Human Capital, Skill-Bias

JEL Classification: O10, O40, O43, O44, Z10, Z13

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