IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedlwp/2012-032.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Conflict and the evolution of societies

Author

Listed:
  • David K. Levine
  • Salvatore Modica

Abstract

The Malthusian theory of evolution disregards a pervasive fact about human societies: they expand through conflict. When this is taken account of the long-run favors not a large population at the level of subsistence, nor yet institutions that maximize welfare or per capita output, but rather institutions that maximize free resources. These free resources are the output available to society after deducting the payments necessary for subsistence and for the incentives needed to induce pro- duction, and the other claims to production such as transfer payments and resources absorbed by elites. We develop the evolutionary underpinnings of this model, and examine the implications of free resource maximization for the evolution of societies in several applications. Since free resources are increasing both in per capita income and population, evolution will favor large rich societies. We will show how technological improvement is likely to increase per capita output as well as increase population, and how economically inefficient institutions such as bureaucracy arise.

Suggested Citation

  • David K. Levine & Salvatore Modica, 2012. "Conflict and the evolution of societies," Working Papers 2012-032, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2012-032
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/2012/2012-032.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-2041, August.
    2. Dincecco, Mark & Federico, Giovanni & Vindigni, Andrea, 2011. "Warfare, Taxation, and Political Change: Evidence from the Italian Risorgimento," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(04), pages 887-914, December.
    3. Foster, Dean P. & Young, H. Peyton, 2003. "Learning, hypothesis testing, and Nash equilibrium," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 73-96, October.
    4. Dekel, Eddie & Ely, Jeffrey & Yilankaya, Okan, 2004. "Evolution of Preferences," Microeconomics.ca working papers dekel-04-08-13-01-21-07, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 09 Jun 2006.
    5. Ingela Alger & Jörgen W. Weibull, 2010. "Kinship, Incentives, and Evolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1725-1758, September.
    6. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, and Growth in Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199.
    7. Kjell Hausken, 2005. "Production and Conflict Models Versus Rent-Seeking Models," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 59-93, April.
    8. Bottazzi, Giulio & Dindo, Pietro, 2014. "Evolution and market behavior with endogenous investment rules," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 121-146.
    9. Rowthorn, Robert & Seabright, Paul, 2010. "Property Rights, Warfare and the Neolithic Transition," TSE Working Papers 10-207, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    10. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
    11. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998. "The Theory of Learning in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061945, January.
    12. Hirshleifer,Jack, 2001. "The Dark Side of the Force," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521804127.
    13. Federico Weinschelbaum & David K. Levine & Salvatore Modica & Felipe Zurita, 2010. "Evolving to the Impatience Trap: The Example of the Farmer-Sheriff Game," Working Papers 109, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Aug 2011.
    14. Samuel Bowles & Astrid Hopfensitz, 2000. "The Co-evolution of Individual Behaviors and Social Institutions," Working Papers 00-12-073, Santa Fe Institute.
    15. Michihiro Kandori, 1992. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Demography ; Economic conditions;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    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:fip:fedlwp:2012-032. 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: (Kathy Cosgrove). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbslus.html .

    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.