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Son to Father Reciprocity and Encephalization in Early Humans

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  • John M. Hartwick

    () (Queen's University)

Abstract

Humans exhibit much more sharing of food harvested by prime-age hunter-gatherers with dependents relative to such sharing by lower-order primates. We investigate this behavior in a model in which a father provides generously to his dependent child-son in period t in the hope that this gesture will inspire his son to reciprocate in the next period when the father is in "retirement". In our formulation fathers provide better when (a) they are smarter hunters (b) they have a higher probability of living to experience a "retirement" and (c) when they are more con dent that their child-sons will indeed provide generously for them in their "retirement". Better food provision by prime-age fathers is associated with brain-size expansion in our model.

Suggested Citation

  • John M. Hartwick, 2009. "Son to Father Reciprocity and Encephalization in Early Humans," Working Papers 1223, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1223
    as

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    File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1223.pdf
    File Function: First version 2009
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Hartwick, 2010. "Encephalization and division of labor by early humans," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 77-100, July.
    2. Arthur J. Robson & Hillard S. Kaplan, 2003. "The Evolution of Human Life Expectancy and Intelligence in Hunter-Gatherer Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 150-169, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    reciprocity; encephalization; intertemporal division of labor;

    JEL classification:

    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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