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Coevolutionary Investments in Human Speech and Trade


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


We propose a novel explanation for the emergence of language in modern humans, and the lack thereof in other hominids. A coevolutionary process, where trade facilitates speech and speech facilitates trade, driven by expectations and potentially influenced by geography, gives rise to multiple stable development trajectories. While the trade-speech equilibrium is not an inevitable outcome for modern humans, we do find that it is a relatively likely result given that our species evolved in Africa under climatic conditions supporting relatively high population densities.

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  • Bulte, Erwin H. & Horan, Richard D. & Shogren, Jason F., 2006. "Coevolutionary Investments in Human Speech and Trade," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21318, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea06:21318

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