Semi OT: Genetic Capital

Comparative analyses of human genomes show a decrease in genetic diversity as distance from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia increases. Ashraf and Galor have a paper that looks at the effect of genetic diversity on economic development (per capita income). Their idea is that middle levels of genetic diversity balances the social costs of high diversity and the creative benefits of variability in cognitive skills.

They find the optimal level of diversity currently is 0.72 which is an increase from 0.68 around 1500. The country with the highest diversity is Ethiopia (0.77) with Bolivia at the low end (0.63). The United States is at 0.72.

The authors estimate that genetic diversity accounts for 16% of the variation in per capita income. They project that if the US diversity were to change to either 0.71 or 0.73 then per capita income would decrease by 1.9%.

The “Out of Africa” Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development



The Norwegians seem to be doing very well economically, especially when you consider the “oil wealth curse” that has befallen other nations. I wonder what their genetic diversity is?

Your link doesn’t seem to work.



Your link doesn’t seem to work.

It works on my end, but here’s another version that may work for you:


While the intermediate level of genetic diversity prevalent among Asian and European populations has been conducive for development, the high degree of diversity among African populations and the low degree of diversity among Native American populations have been a detrimental force in the development of these regions.

Jared Diamond argued that the ease of east-west travel across Europe-Asia vs. the difficulty of north-south travel in America and Africa accounts for the difference in outcomes that favored Europe and Asia.

The Captain