The Bai Clansmen

Spanning over 24 generations, the descendants of Bai Yingshun have dispersed all over southeast Asia away from their homeland, the Chinese city of Longmen. Thousands of miles away from Longmen, the Bai maintain a strong sense of the identity of their forefathers in a way that has affected their economic outcomes. The story of the Bai suggests that, even outside the nation-state, an informal institution like an ethnic group can be a powerful force in shaping one's economic well-being. But what makes the Bai story unique? And how does it give insight into how a diaspora can provide a support system far from the original homeland? We talk with Kwee Hui Kian of the University of Toronto on this episode to learn more about the story of the Bai and how it aids in understanding development.

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