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A Tale of Two Tails: Peakedness Properties in Inheritance Models of Evolutionary Theory

  • Ibragimov, Rustam
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    In this paper, we study transmission of traits through generations in multifactorial inheritance models with sex- and time-dependent heritability. We further analyze the implications of these models under heavy-tailedness of traits’ distributions. Among other results, we show that in the case of a trait (for instance, a medical or behavioral disorder or a phenotype with significant heritability affecting human capital in an economy) with not very thick-tailed initial density, the trait distribution becomes increasingly more peaked, that is, increasingly more concentrated and unequally spread, with time. But these patterns are reversed for traits with sufficiently heavy-tailed initial distributions (e.g., a medical or behavioral disorder for which there is no strongly expressed risk group or a relatively equally distributed ability with significant genetic influence). Such traits’ distributions become less peaked over time and increasingly more spread in the population. The proof of the results in the paper is based on the general results on majorization properties of heavy-tailed distributions obtained recently in Ibragimov (Econom Theory 23: 501–517, 2007) and also presented in the author’s Ph.D. dissertation (Ibragimov, New majorization theory in economics and martingale convergence results in econometrics. Yale University, 2005) and several their extensions derived in this work.

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    File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/2624003/ibragimov_taletail.pdf
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    Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 2624003.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Publication status: Published in Journal of Evolutionary Economics
    Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:2624003
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    Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/

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    1. Arthur J. Robson, 1995. "The Evolution of Strategic Behaviour," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(1), pages 17-41, February.
    2. Herbert A. Simon, 1992. "Altruism and Economics," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 73-83, Winter.
    3. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1995. "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 58-81, March.
    4. Casey B. Mulligan, 1999. "Galton versus the Human Capital Approach to Inheritance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S184-S224, December.
    5. Goldberger, A.S., 1989. "Economic And Mechanical Models Of Intergenerational Transmission," Working papers 374, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    6. Jovanovic, Boyan & Rob, Rafael, 1987. "Demand-Driven Innovation and Spatial Competition over Time," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 63-72, January.
    7. An, Mark Yuying, 1995. "Logconcavity versus Logconvexity: A Complete Characterization," Working Papers 95-03, Duke University, Department of Economics.
    8. Arthur J. Robson, 2002. "Evolution and Human Nature," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 89-106, Spring.
    9. Bernheim, B Douglas & Ray, Debraj, 1987. "Economic Growth with Intergenerational Altruism," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 227-41, April.
    10. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 2002. "Evolution of Social Behavior: Individual and Group Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 67-88, Spring.
    11. Paul J. Zak, . "Genetics, Family Structure, and Economic Growth," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2000-21, Claremont Colleges.
    12. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1992. "Patterns of Intergenerational Mobility in Income and Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 456-66, August.
    13. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Samuelson, Paul A, 1993. "Altruism as a Problem Involving Group versus Individual Selection in Economics and Biology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 143-48, May.
    15. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-29, June.
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