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The Persistence of Economic Outcomes Over the Very Long-run: The Coevolution of Cooperation and Punishment Norms
January 31, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Presented by Dr Cliff Bekar, Lewis & Clark College of Arts and Sciences.
An emerging literature suggests that many important contemporary economic outcomes have their roots in “deep history.” More and more it appears that the traditional correlates of economic growth are, to varying degrees, determined by a range of factors well in advance of the modern era. Newly analyzed datasets have linked the level and geographic distribution of capital investments to pre-existing Roman infrastructure; the distribution of institutions and property rights to the ecological incidence of human pathogens; patterns of urbanization and innovation to pre-modern demography and cultural norms.
Most dramatic, perhaps, is the suggestion that the contemporary international distribution of economic productivity is in part determined by the migration of Homo Sapiens out of Africa.
This presentation reviews the growing persistence literature with the goal of motivating a focus on the historical roots of economic development. Aspects of my preliminary interdisciplinary research on the evolutionary origins of cooperation and punishment are presented as an illustration.