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Natural Selection and Neanderthal Extinction in a Malthusian Economy

Chu, Angus (2022): Natural Selection and Neanderthal Extinction in a Malthusian Economy.

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Abstract

This study develops a Malthusian model with natural selection of human species. We explore how population dynamics of one group of humans may cause the extinction of another group. In our model, different groups of humans engage in hunting-gathering. The larger group of humans can occupy more land. Therefore, in a Malthusian economy, the expansion of one population causes the other population to shrink. Whether it causes the other population to become extinct depends on a structural parameter that is the elasticity of the relative share of land with respect to the relative population size. If this elasticity is below unity, then both populations converge to their positive steady-state levels. However, if the elasticity is equal to unity, then the population that has a lower fertility cost, stronger fertility preference, higher hunting-gathering productivity and higher labor supply converges to a positive steady-state level whereas the other population eventually becomes extinct.

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