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Title: The cultural evolution of economic development
Author: Flitton, A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 5510
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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Economic development has several stages, from the exchange of tools and weapons in prehistory, to the adoption of money systems, to globalised economies driven by digitally-represented currencies. These stages present different challenges to societies, but also common ones. Perhaps the most important of these is cooperation. Exchange puts parties in positions vulnerable to exploitation, as they have to give payment in anticipation of goods, or goods in anticipation of payment. At its origin, money use creates a similar situation in which a party gives up valuable objects for a promise of future repayment. Explaining the diversity in economic performance and money systems therefore requires consideration of ecological and cultural factors that shape the levels of cooperation in societies. History can also have an influence on this diversity. Events in a society's history can have persistent effects on its culture and institutions, and more general patterns of shared history can determine how culturally similar societies are. A cultural evolutionary framework can be used to synthesise these different factors as part of the same explanation. Historical experiences, the ecology and cultural traits all shape variation in each other and create conditions that determine the adaptiveness of cooperation, and therefore the potential for money use and large-scale economic activity to emerge and spread. Using a multiple method and multiple hypothesis approach, in this thesis I seek to examine existing theories for variation in economic development and money use, and generate and test new hypotheses using a cultural evolutionary framework.
Supervisor: Currie, T. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cultural evolution ; Economic behaviour ; Money ; Structural equation modelling ; Multilevel modelling ; Economic development ; Institutions ; Cooperation