Novelty-seeking traits and development

When we compare the economic performance of former colonies with high European populations (e.g. Australia) to those without one (e.g. most African and Latin American countries), we can see that the former are generally more successful. One reason behind this is that Europeans already knew how to make an economy successful when they settled down in those colonies. They then transferred this knowledge to their offspring. Such an intergenerational transmission of traits that are favorable to development was missing in colonies with few Europeans.

One question that may arise is what kind of knowledge/traits are we talking about here? And is it transmitted genetically or culturally? Of course, economic development has many other determinants, but such intergenerationally transmittable traits are very important as well. In this post, I’ll look at the case of novelty-seeking traits: that is whether one likes to explore and try new things.

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