IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/ecolec/v131y2017icp524-532.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The coevolution of economic institutions and sustainable consumption via cultural group selection

Author

Listed:
  • Waring, Timothy M.
  • Goff, Sandra H.
  • Smaldino, Paul E.

Abstract

Empirical research has identified various institutions that improve resource longevity by supporting individual resource conservation. However, the mechanisms by which these institutions emerge have not been established. We speculate that economic institutions which support resource conservation, such as property regimes and systems of production, may emerge via a process of cultural group selection amongst social-ecological systems. To explore this proposition, we develop a multilevel selection model of resource management institutions with endogenous group dynamics. The endogenous design permits us to determine whether a given social adaptation is due to individual or group-level evolution. We demonstrate how resource conservation and supporting economic institutions coevolve, and reveal when cultural group selection is involved. In the model, sustainable societies emerge in only a minority of cases. Simulations reveal that property norms facilitate sustainable outcomes most, followed by social group marking, and production norms. We describe the institutional transitions which occur along the evolutionary trajectory most likely to achieve sustainability. Analysis of the model reveals that when groups compete indirectly for survival in a harsh environment cultural group selection favors institutions that support resource conservation. However, when groups compete for abundant resources institutions emerge to support overconsumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Waring, Timothy M. & Goff, Sandra H. & Smaldino, Paul E., 2017. "The coevolution of economic institutions and sustainable consumption via cultural group selection," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 524-532.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:131:y:2017:i:c:p:524-532
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.09.022
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092180091530197X
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ross A. Hammond & Robert Axelrod, 2006. "The Evolution of Ethnocentrism," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 50(6), pages 926-936, December.
    2. McElreath, Richard & Boyd, Robert, 2007. "Mathematical Models of Social Evolution," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226558264, July.
    3. Joëlle Noailly & Jeroen Bergh & Cees Withagen, 2009. "Local and Global Interactions in an Evolutionary Resource Game," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 33(2), pages 155-173, March.
    4. van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M. & Gowdy, John M., 2009. "A group selection perspective on economic behavior, institutions and organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 1-20, October.
    5. Rammel, Christian & Stagl, Sigrid & Wilfing, Harald, 2007. "Managing complex adaptive systems -- A co-evolutionary perspective on natural resource management," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 9-21, June.
    6. Pérez, Irene & Janssen, Marco A., 2015. "The effect of spatial heterogeneity and mobility on the performance of social–ecological systems," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 296(C), pages 1-11.
    7. Henrich, Joseph, 2004. "Cultural group selection, coevolutionary processes and large-scale cooperation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 3-35, January.
    8. Buenstorf, Guido & Cordes, Christian, 2008. "Can sustainable consumption be learned? A model of cultural evolution," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(4), pages 646-657, November.
    9. Safarzynska, Karolina & van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M., 2010. "Evolving power and environmental policy: Explaining institutional change with group selection," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 743-752, February.
    10. Safarzyńska, Karolina & Frenken, Koen & van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M., 2012. "Evolutionary theorizing and modeling of sustainability transitions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1011-1024.
    11. Wilson, David Sloan & Ostrom, Elinor & Cox, Michael E., 2013. "Generalizing the core design principles for the efficacy of groups," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(S), pages 21-32.
    12. Joëlle Noailly & Cees Withagen & Jeroen Bergh, 2007. "Spatial Evolution of Social Norms in a Common-Pool Resource Game," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 36(1), pages 113-141, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:131:y:2017:i:c:p:524-532. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.