Selection and the Roy Model in the Neolithic Transition

74 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2023

See all articles by Nurfatima Jandarova

Nurfatima Jandarova

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics

Aldo Rustichini

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 13, 2023

Abstract

We model the evolution of the distribution of genotypes in European populations over the past 14 thousand years. In our model, the evolution is driven by selection operating after a shift in the productivity of agriculture, induced by a well-documented climate change, in a standard Roy model in which individuals self-select into one of two sectors (agriculture or hunter-gathering).

We then test the model in two data sets, one of ancient and one of modern DNA datasets, matching the observed distributions of genetic variables of interest (allele frequencies and lineages). The model extends a standard Wright-Fisher model. We estimate the model and find support for our main hypothesis, namely that a major shift in the distribution of allele frequencies (in a direction favouring higher cognitive skills) occurred after the climate warming at the end of the Younger Dryas (11,600 years BPE) made agriculture more productive than hunter-gathering.

The general implication we draw is that historical transformations (in our case climate change and technological change) can affect the distribution of genotype and thus institutions, rather than the other way round.

Keywords: Roy model, occupational choice, population genetics, evolution

Suggested Citation

Jandarova, Nurfatima and Rustichini, Aldo, Selection and the Roy Model in the Neolithic Transition (February 13, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4357095 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4357095

Nurfatima Jandarova (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics ( email )

271 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Aldo Rustichini

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics ( email )

271 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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