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Diagnosing Deep Roots of Development: Genetic, Disease and Environmental Factors

We examine the association between indicators of real GDP per capita and the ACP1 genetic adaptation to disease and ultraviolet radiation environment. We find a strong impact that varies across the A, B, and C alleles. The result is robust to controlling for reversal of fortunes, migration, and potential endogeneity of the genetic adaptation. It is also robust to controlling for other potential deep roots of development, geography, early adoption of technology, the population proportion that is European, and genetic diversity, as well as a range of factors held to be relevant by the economic growth literature. Policy prescriptions point to the importance of protection against ultraviolet radiation, control of tropical diseases, and the possible use of folic acid therapy and nutrient supplements in clearly identifiable geographic areas.

Working paper 465
1 September 2014
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