Roots of Comparative Development

Prevailing hypotheses of comparative economic development highlight various determinants of the remarkable inequality in income per capita across the globe. The significance of geographical, institutional, and cultural factors, human capital, ethnolinguistic fractionalization, colonialism, and globalization has been at the heart of a debate concerning the genesis of the astounding transformation in the pattern of comparative development over the past few centuries. While early research focused on the proximate forces that contributed to the divergence in living standards in the post–Industrial Revolution era, attention has shifted gradually toward some  ultimate, deep-rooted, prehistoric factors that may have affected the course of comparative development since the emergence of human civilization.

This research establishes the persistent effect of deep-rooted factors (e.g., geographical characterisitcs, human triats, and the onset of the Neolithihc Revolution) on the global variations in the process of development. In particualr, it examines the direct effect of these deep-rooted factors as well as their indirect effect via cultural and instiutional characteristics.