Distance to Innovations, Kinship Intensity, and Psychological Traits


Psychological traits exhibit substantial variation worldwide, especially among the so-called WEIRD populations. Such psychological variation could be explained by the intensity of kinship family ties that, we hypothesize, depends on the reception of innovations in family organizations. These innovations originated from several centers that also spread other crucial novelties such as agriculture. Less exposed to these innovations to family organizations, areas far from these centers should exhibit lower kinship intensity. Indeed, we show that the distance to innovation centers is strongly associated with kinship intensity as measured by a kinship intensity index and the rate of cousin marriage both across countries worldwide and across regions within European countries. This association is stronger than that with Church exposure introduced by Schulz et al. (2019). This distance is also associated with psychological traits observed through different indicators at different levels, although it is stronger outside Western Europe, where exposure to the Church seems to play an additional role.

Victor Gay
Victor Gay
Assistant Professor

Assistant professor at Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST), University of Toulouse 1 Capitole.