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Population Genetics and Economic Growth

  • Paul J. Zak

    (Claremont Graduate University)

  • Kwang Woo Park

    (Claremont Graduate University)

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.

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Paper provided by Claremont Colleges in its series Claremont Colleges Working Papers with number 2000-20.

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Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:2000-20
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