NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Evolution and the Growth Process: Natural Selection of Entrepreneurial Traits

Oded Galor, Stelios Michalopoulos

NBER Working Paper No. 17075
Issued in May 2011
NBER Program(s):   EFG

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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Published: Journal of Economic Theory, March 2012, 147(2): 759-780

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