Stelios Michalopoulos

Associate Professor of Economics


Stelios Michalopoulos joined Brown University and the PSTC in 2012. His research examines the historical origins of comparative development focusing on ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups. Michalopoulos creates unconventional empirical strategies exploiting historical, anthropological, and linguistic sources as well as novel measures of economic activity to conduct rigorous empirical analyses on the determinants of economic performance across as well as within groups.

Michalopoulos research contributes to three important sub-fields in the intersection of growth and political economy. In the first segment, he explores the roots of ethnic and religious groups with a focus on Islam as well as the crucial role of ethnic inequality for understanding comparative development. In the second part, he debates the importance of nationwide institutions and pre-colonial ethnic traits for subnational African development and sheds light on the legacy of the Scramble for Africa for groups partitioned by the colonial borders. In the third part, he investigates a diverse set of topics in economic growth ranging from the spread of agriculture to the role of financial innovation.

Selected Publications

"Ethnic Inequality," Journal of Political Economy (forthcoming) with Elias Papaioannou and Alberto Alesina.

"National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2014, 129 (1): 151-213, (with Elias Papaioannou).

"The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity," American Economic Review, 2012, 102(4): 1508--1539.


Africa, Culture, Development, Economic growth, Ethnicity, Inequality, Institutions, Islam, Mozambique