The Economist Features LSU Econ Grad

Justin Cook

Justin Cook

April 6, 2015

BATON ROUGE – Justin Cook, an LSU Economics PhD graduate in 2012, was recently featured in The Economist for his research into how the ability to digest milk affects the economic fortunes of countries.

Cook, now a professor at the University of California-Merced, used data on historical migration flows to estimate the ethnic composition of 108 countries. He then estimated what proportion of the population would have been able to digest milk, examining data on the lactose tolerance of different ethnic groups. He concluded that countries with primarily lactose-tolerant populations saw a greater population density. Also, those who could digest milk were thought to use resources more efficiently.

In short, a dairy friendly country would see more growth in its population and infrastructure, which led to more workers who could then specialize in a particular skill, which led to greater technological innovation, which led to larger, more efficient armies.

The full article can be found in the March 26 edition of The Economist. 

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Angela McBride
LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business