Moral sentiments and material interests: the foundations of cooperation in economic life

Robert Boyd, Samuel Bowles
MIT Press, 2005

Publisher's Summary:

Moral Sentiments and Material Interests presents an innovative synthesis of research in different disciplines to argue that cooperation stems not from the stereotypical selfish agent acting out of disguised self-interest but from the presence of "strong reciprocators" in a social group.

Presenting an overview of research in economics, anthropology, evolutionary and human biology, social psychology, and sociology, the book deals with both the theoretical foundations and the policy implications of this explanation for cooperation. Chapter authors in the remaining parts of the book discuss the behavioral ecology of cooperation in humans and nonhuman primates, modeling and testing strong reciprocity in economic scenarios, and reciprocity and social policy. The evidence for strong reciprocity in the book includes experiments using the famous Ultimatum Game (in which two players must agree on how to split a certain amount of money or they both get nothing).

 

Aquatic food webs: an ecosystem approach

Andrea Belgrano, Ursula M. Scharler
Oxford University Press, 2005

Publisher's Summary:

This volume provides a current synthesis of theoretical and empirical food web research. Whether they are binary systems or weighted networks, food webs are of particular interest to ecologists in providing a macroscopic view of ecosystems. They describe interactions between species and their environment, and subsequent advances in the understanding of their structure, function, and dynamics are of vital importance to ecosystem management and conservation. Aquatic Food Webs provides a synthesis of the current issues in food web theory and its applications, covering issues of structure, function, scaling, complexity, and stability in the contexts of conservation, fisheries, and climate. Although the focus of this volume is upon aquatic food webs (where many of the recent advances have been made), any ecologist with an interest in food web theory and its applications will find the issues addressed in this book of value and use. This advanced textbook is suitable for graduate level students as well as professional researchers in community, ecosystem, and theoretical ecology, in aquatic ecology, and in conservation biology.

Unequal chances: family background and economic success

Samuel Bowles, Herbert Gintis, Melissa Osborne Groves
Princeton University Press and Russell Sage Foundation, 2005

Publisher's Summary:

Is the United States "the land of equal opportunity" or is the playing field tilted in favor of those whose parents are wealthy, well educated, and white? If family background is important in getting ahead, why? And if the processes that transmit economic status from parent to child are unfair, could public policy address the problem? Unequal Chances provides new answers to these questions by leading economists, sociologists, biologists, behavioral geneticists, and philosophers.

New estimates show that intergenerational inequality in the United States is far greater than was previously thought. Moreover, while the inheritance of wealth and the better schooling typically enjoyed by the children of the well-to-do contribute to this process, these two standard explanations fail to explain the extent of intergenerational status transmission. The genetic inheritance of IQ is even less important. Instead, parent-offspring similarities in personality and behavior may play an important role. Race contributes to the process, and the intergenerational mobility patterns of African Americans and European Americans differ substantially.

Following the editors' introduction are chapters by Greg Duncan, Ariel Kalil, Susan E. Mayer, Robin Tepper, and Monique R. Payne; Bhashkar Mazumder; David J. Harding, Christopher Jencks, Leonard M. Lopoo, and Susan E. Mayer; Anders Björklund, Markus Jäntti, and Gary Solon; Tom Hertz; John C. Loehlin; Melissa Osborne Groves; Marcus W. Feldman, Shuzhuo Li, Nan Li, Shripad Tuljapurkar, and Xiaoyi Jin; and Adam Swift.

 

Microeconomics: behavior, institutions, and evolution

Samuel Bowles
Princeton University Press, 2003

Publisher's Summary:

In this novel introduction to modern microeconomic theory, Samuel Bowles returns to the classical economists' interest in the wealth and poverty of nations and people, the workings of the institutions of capitalist economies, and the co-evolution of individual preferences and the structures of markets, firms, and other institutions. Using recent advances in evolutionary game theory, contract theory, behavioral experiments, and the modeling of dynamic processes, he develops a theory of how economic institutions shape individual behavior, and how institutions evolve due to individual actions, technological change, and chance events. Topics addressed include institutional innovation, social preferences, nonmarket social interactions, social capital, equilibrium unemployment, credit constraints, economic power, generalized increasing returns, disequilibrium outcomes, and path dependency.

Each chapter is introduced by empirical puzzles or historical episodes illuminated by the modeling that follows, and the book closes with sets of problems to be solved by readers seeking to improve their mathematical modeling skills. Complementing standard mathematical analysis are agent-based computer simulations of complex evolving systems that are available online so that readers can experiment with the models. Bowles concludes with the time-honored challenge of "getting the rules right," providing an evaluation of markets, states, and communities as contrasting and yet sometimes synergistic structures of governance. Must reading for students and scholars not only in economics but across the behavioral sciences, this engagingly written and compelling exposition of the new microeconomics moves the field beyond the conventional models of prices and markets toward a more accurate and policy-relevant portrayal of human social behavior.

 

Human biologists in the archives: demography, health, nutrition, and genetics in historical populations

Alan C. Swedlund, D. Ann Herring
Cambridge University Press, 2003

Publisher's Summary:

This book describes how archival data inform anthropological questions about human biology and health. The authors present a diverse array of human biological evidence from a variety of sources including the archaeological record, medical collections, church records, contemporary health and growth data, and genetic information from the descendants of historical populations. The contributions demonstrate how the analysis of historical documents expands the horizons of research in human biology, extends the longitudinal analysis of microevolutionary and social processes into the present, and enhances the understanding of the human condition.

[Chapter in] Handbook of social and cultural anthropology

Douglas R. White
Rand-McNally, 1974

Twenty-eight original articles provide a comprehensive survey of the theories, methods, and research issues that have recently emerged in all subfields of the discipline.