Collins Conference Room
Working Group

Abstract.  We will be discussing possible explanations for the recent empirical finding that Ginis constructed so as to reflect household wealth differences within societies become markedly higher in the Eurasia after about 4000 BC than they ever appear to be in North America or Mesoamerica prior to their contact with European societies. Our leading hypothesis at the moment is that this pattern is initiated by the presence of large domesticates in the Old World, including traction animals which lend themselves to highly productive agricultural extensification resulting in monopolizable wealth. We will discuss research strategies to narrow the range of other possible explanations for this pattern, most of which involve seeking outside funds for additional investigations to obtain more isotopic determinations and measurements of household size (as a proxy for wealth) in a larger sample of societies that contrasts with those available in our present sample along critical dimensions.

Research Collaboration
SFI Host:
Tim Kohler and Amy Bogaard