IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Homogeneity and Heterogeneity Within and Across Boundaries and Shorelines: Ensemble of Darwin's Finches and Human Transaction Types


  • Beth Yarbrough


  • Robert Yarbrough



Synopsis: In the most famous example of the biological process of adaptive radiation, two forces explain the fourteen distinct species of Darwin's finches on the Galápagos and Cocos Islands: First, populations adapt to their respective distinct ecological environments. Second, previously separated populations come in contact and may adapt to mitigate inter-species competition. The result is a complex pattern of homogeneity and heterogeneity among the birds, both on a single island and across islands. This pattern reflects the finches' adaptations both to the distinct ecological conditions created by the visible shorelines that separate the islands' niches and to the finches' own less-visible cultural and societal shorelines. The New Institutional Economics highlights the fact that human institutional infrastructures also exhibit complex homogeneities and heterogeneities, as we adapt those infrastructures to accomplish the tasks at hand in distinct geographic and societal contexts. Mixes of both state enforcement and self-enforcement, through inter-temporal, inter-issue, and inter-actor linkages, provide support and enforcement for transactions; and those mixes differ across transactions and across states. When transactions occur across state or cultural shorelines, institutional infrastructures must be flexible enough to accommodate those differences, without allowing the differences to become disguised protectionism or barriers to competition. These issues contribute to many of the regulatory disputes associated with ‘globalization’. We briefly consider two concrete recent examples: (1) the European Union–United States ‘Safe Harbor’ Agreement that regulates firms' policies toward Internet-data privacy; and (2) international trade policy negotiations over regulation of ‘geographical indications’ (for example, Champagne or Roquefort) as means of assuring product quality for processed foods. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Suggested Citation

  • Beth Yarbrough & Robert Yarbrough, 2003. "Homogeneity and Heterogeneity Within and Across Boundaries and Shorelines: Ensemble of Darwin's Finches and Human Transaction Types," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 165-191, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbioec:v:5:y:2003:i:2:p:165-191
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1025808008983

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

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


    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:kap:jbioec:v:5:y:2003:i:2:p:165-191. 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: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.