Kampanelis, S. , "Cultural transmission, ancient trade routes, and contemporary economic activity: Evidence from Australia"
June 16, 2022
Title: "Cultural transmission, ancient trade routes, and contemporary economic activity: Evidence from Australia"
Speaker: Dr. Sotiris Kampanelis, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, UK
Host: Assistant Professor Dioikitopoulos Evangelos, Department of Economics, Athens University of Economics and Business
Time: 15.30 -17.00
Attachments: PDF of Relevant Paper
Abstact: Can economic outcomes be determined by the transmission of ancient cultural norms and practices? We use the case of colonisation in Australia where Europeans relied on the Aboriginal knowledge of the landscape to explore, map, and settle. Using anthropological data, we construct a newly digitised and georeferenced dataset of all known trade routes that were created by Aborigines based on orally transmitted maps that were passed between generations by word of mouth. We find that Aboriginal trade routes are a strong and positive predictor of contemporary economic activity –as measured by satellite light density at night. We demonstrate that this association can be explained by the early transport infrastructure developed by Europeans along these routes. This suggests path dependence in the trajectory of European settlement and subsequent economic development in Australia.