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Population Genetics and Economic Growth

Author

Listed:
  • Paul J. Zak

    (Claremont Graduate University)

  • Kwang Woo Park

    (Claremont Graduate University)

Abstract

This paper builds an age-structural model of human population genetics in which agents are endowed with a high-dimensional genome that determines their cognitive and physical characteristics. Young adults optimally search for a marriage partner, work for firms, consume goods, save for old age and, if married, decide how many children to have. Applying the fundamental genetic operations, children receive genetic material from their parents. An agent's human capital (productivity) is an aggregate of the received genetic endowment and environmental influences. Thus, the population of agents and the economy co-evolve. The model examines the impact of social and economic institutions on economic performance, including inequality in income and genetic attributes, the transition to an information economy, population bottlenecks, matchmaking, and love. We find that institutional factors significantly impact economic performance by affecting marriage, family size, and the intergenerational transmission of genes.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul J. Zak & Kwang Woo Park, "undated". "Population Genetics and Economic Growth," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2000-20, Claremont Colleges.
  • Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:2000-20
    as

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    File URL: http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/rdschool/papers/2000-20.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Geoffrey Hodgson, 2007. "Taxonomizing the Relationship Between Biology and Economics: A Very Long Engagement," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 169-185, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    growth; population biology; psychology; fertility; marriage; genetics; evolution;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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