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Evolution and the Growth Process: Natural Selection of Entrepreneurial Traits

  • Galor, Oded


    (Brown University)

  • Michalopoulos, Stelios


    (Brown University)

This research suggests that a Darwinian evolution of entrepreneurial spirit played a significant role in the process of economic development and the dynamics of inequality within and across societies. The study argues that entrepreneurial spirit evolved non-monotonically in the course of human history. In early stages of development, risk-tolerant, growth promoting traits generated an evolutionary advantage and their increased representation accelerated the pace of technological progress and the process of economic development. In mature stages of development, however, risk-averse traits gained an evolutionary advantage, diminishing the growth potential of advanced economies and contributing to convergence in economic growth across countries.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6327.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Economic Theory, 2012, 147(2), 759-780
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6327
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
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  7. Oded Galor, 2006. "The Demographic Transition," Working Papers 2006-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  8. Sachiko Miyata, 2003. "Household's risk attitudes in Indonesian villages," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(5), pages 573-583.
  9. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 1730, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Antonio E. Bernardo & Ivo Welch, 2001. "On the Evolution of Overconfidence and Entrepreneurs," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1307, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  11. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1999. "Beyond the Melting Pot: Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," Papers 1999-10, Laval - Laboratoire Econometrie.
  12. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2003. "The Law of Primogeniture and the Transition from Landed Aristocracy to Industrial Democracy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3723, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Jesus J. Santos, 2001. "A Theory of Markets, Institutions and Endogenous Preferences," Working Papers 2001-18, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  14. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2009. "The Diffusion of Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 469-529, May.
  15. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2082, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
  17. Oded Galor, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," GE, Growth, Math methods 0409003, EconWPA.
  18. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  19. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 1999. "Malthus to Solow," Staff Report 257, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  20. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  21. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2007. "The Neolithic Revolution and Contemporary Variations in Life Expectancy," Working Papers 2007-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  22. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of economic Growth," Working Papers 2000-18, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  23. Borghans,J.A.M. & Borghans,Lex & Weel,Bas,ter, 2005. "Is There a Link between Economic Outcomes and Genetic Evolution? Cross-Country Evidence from the Major Histocompatibility Complex," Research Memorandum 029, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  24. Lagerl F, Nils-Petter, 2007. "Long-Run Trends In Human Body Mass," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 367-387, June.
  25. Feinerman, Eli & Finkelshtain, Israel, 1996. "Introducing socioeconomic characteristics into production analysis under risk," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 149-161, February.
  26. Weibull, Jörgen & Salomonsson, Marcus, 2005. "Natural selection and social preferences," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 588, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 20 Jul 2005.
  27. Joseph Rodgers & Hans-Peter Kohler & Kirsten Kyvik & Kaare Christensen, 2001. "Behavior genetic modeling of human fertility: findings from a contemporary danish twin study," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 29-42, February.
  28. Hans-Peter Kohler & Joseph L. Rodgers & Kaare Christensen, 1999. "Is Fertility Behavior in Our Genes? Findings from a Danish Twin Study," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(2), pages 253-288.
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