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This research advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that variations

in population diversity across human societies, as determined in the course of the exodus of humans from Africa tens of thousands of years ago, had contributed to the differential formation of pre-colonial autocratic institutions across ethnic groups and the emergence and persistence of contemporary autocratic institutions across countries. Exploiting a novel geo-referenced data set of population diversity across ethnic groups, the study demonstrates that while diversity has amplified the importance of institutions in mitigating the adverse effects of social non-cohesiveness on productivity, it has contributed to inequality and the scope for domination, leading to the formation and persistence of institutions of the autocratic type.

Media Coverage:

New York Times " In Search for a New Emperor"


This research explores the origins of loss aversion and the variation in its prevalence across regions, nations and ethnic group. It advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that the evolution of loss aversion in the course of human history can be traced to the adaptation of individuals to the asymmetric eects of climatic shocks on reproductive success during the Malthusian epoch. Exploiting variations in the degree of loss aversion among second generation migrants in Europe and the US, as well as across precolonial ethnic groups, the research establishes that consistent with the predictions of the theory, individuals and ethnic groups that are originated in regions in which climatic conditions tended to be spatially correlated, and thus shocks were aggregate in nature, are characterized by greater intensity of loss aversion, while descendants of regions marked by climatic volatility have greater propensity towards loss-neutrality.

Media Coverage:

Pacific Standard "How a Volatile Climate Shapes the Way People Think"


Traditional Library

The Out of Africa Hypothesis of Comparative Development:

Roots of Cultural Traits:

Human Capital & Industrialization:

          Review: The NEP-HIS Blog

Soli Quality and Development


Human Evolution:

Working Papers: Publications
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