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Joint determination of biological encephalization, economic specialization

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  • Horan, Richard D.
  • Shogren, Jason F.
  • Bulte, Erwin H.

Abstract

In this paper, we develop a paleoeconomic model of the co-evolution of economic specialization and encephalization--the common physiological measure of intelligence as reflected by brain mass relative to total body mass. Our economic analysis links ecological and social intelligence theories of increased encephalization in early hominins through a model in which both economic and ecological feedbacks jointly determined the evolutionary incentives. We focus on degrees of specialization affected by coordination costs with and without market exchange. Our results suggest encephalization would be a process characterized by diminishing returns to behavioral advances. In terms of the long-running debate in economics over whether specialization increases or decreases intelligence, our results suggest from an evolutionary perspective the answer depends on economic/social institutions and how these influence ecological interactions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Resource and Energy Economics.

Volume (Year): 33 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 426-439

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Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:33:y:2011:i:2:p:426-439

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505569

Related research

Keywords: Bioeconomics Hominin evolution Positive feedbacks Australopithecus;

References

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  1. Horan, R.D. & Bulte, E.H. & Shogren, J.F., 2005. "How trade saved humanity from biological exclusion: An economic theory of Neanderthal extinction," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-148673, Tilburg University.
  2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection And The Origin Of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191, November.
  3. Chen, S. & Shogren, Jason F. & Orazem, Peter, 2002. "Prices and Health: Identifying the Effects of Nutrition, Exercise, and Medication Choices on Blood Pressure," Staff General Research Papers 5059, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Nicolas Marceau & Gordon Myers, 2005. "On the Early Holocene: Foraging to Early Agriculture," Cahiers de recherche 0502, CIRPEE.
  5. Arthur J. Robson, 2005. "Complex Evolutionary Systems and the Red Queen," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(504), pages F211-F224, 06.
  6. Thomas D. Crocker & Bruce A. Forster & Jason F. Shogren, 1991. "Valuing Potential Groundwater Protection Benefits," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 91-wp71, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  7. Shogren, Jason F. & Crocker, Thomas D., 1999. "Risk and Its Consequences," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 44-51, January.
  8. Mark Agee & Thomas Crocker*, 1998. "Economies, Human Capital, and Natural Assets," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 261-271, April.
  9. Richard Horan & Erwin Bulte & Jason Shogren, 2008. "Coevolution of human speech and trade," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 293-313, December.
  10. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1994. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 299-322 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Partha Dasgupta, 1995. "The Population Problem: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1879-1902, December.
  12. Thomas Crocker & John Tschirhart, 1992. "Ecosystems, externalities, and economies," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(6), pages 551-567, November.
  13. Hansson, Ingemar & Stuart, Charles, 1990. "Malthusian Selection of Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 529-44, June.
  14. U. Dieckmann & R. Law, 1996. "The Dynamical Theory of Coevolution: A Derivation from Stochastic Ecological Processes," Working Papers wp96001, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
  15. Settle, Chad & Crocker, Thomas D. & Shogren, Jason F., 2002. "On the joint determination of biological and economic systems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 301-311, August.
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