Romain Wacziarg

Professor of Economics; Hans Hufschmid Chair in Management


Better understanding the sources of the wealth of nations is an age-old endeavor and Romain Wacziarg seeks to understand what explains economic performance. He has studied how deeply rooted features of societies affect their economic performance today, taking into account the historical legacy of geography, ethnic divisions resulting from complex historical paths and the cultural traits inherited from ancestors. A major theme of his research is the causes and effects of the global spread of democracy over the last few decades. Is democracy a luxury good that only wealthy countries can afford, or does democracy promote prosperity?

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6 Articles

A photo illustration of the American flag with a crack through it and the Capitol building overlaid and a red filter over the entire image. Research Brief / Politics

Cultural Polarization Isn’t New — But Its Alignment With Political Divisions Is

A new way to classify individuals delivers insights on social divisions and the culture war

Detail of a 19-century painting depicting the Battle of Kulikovo (1380 CE). Research Brief / Cultural History

Testing 17 Theories on the Development of Complex Civilizations

Large-scale data project produces stark conclusion: military technology + agricultural productivity caused the takeoff

An aerial photo of a work site Research Brief / Economy

World Economy 9.6% Bigger Without Investment Barriers

In a model, cultural differences matter as much as geography, institutional distinctions or capital constraints

Empty western town with a tumble weed rolling across the main street Research Brief / Social Capital

Populism Blossoms Where Community Connectedness Is Lower

Gauging Trump's appeal by estimating an area's social capital

Illustration of a factory Feature / Cultural History

In Some Places, Fertility Rates Declined Before the Industrial Revolution

Using parish records, researchers examine fundamental changes in society following the French Revolution

Five illustrated figures interact with coffee and snacks Research Brief / Cultural History

Why Can’t We All Get Along? On Some Things, We Do

The narrative of a growing cultural divide, while partly true, conceals a more nuanced picture