My research

I have just submitted my PhD thesis at the University of Western Australia. The papers that will form my thesis are below.


“Economic Growth and Evolution: Parental Preferences for Quality and Quantity of Offspring” (2014) Macroeconomic Dynamics 18, pp. 1773-1796 (with Boris Baer and Juerg Weber) (ungated pdf): In this paper we look at the model developed in Galor and Moav (2002) Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth. You can find a post describing the paper here.

Sexual Selection, Conspicuous Consumption and Economic Growth (2015) Journal of Bioeconomics 17(2), pp. 189-206 (with Boris Baer and Juerg Weber) (ungated working paper): We examine the effect of the evolution of conspicuous consumption on economic growth. You can read a post on my paper here. Coverage of the paper includes Tom Whipple in The Times, Sarah Griffiths in The Daily Mail, Rob Brooks in The Huffington Post and The Conversation, Chris Dillow at Stumbling and Mumbling, Steve Sailer at iSteve, and Matt Ridley in The Wall Street Journal. I was profiled in UWA News after release of the working paper. And Paul Frijters has prepared a critique of an earlier version, which you can find here.

Working papers

Evolution, Fertility and the Ageing Population (with Oliver Richards): We hypothesise that because the heritability of fertility increased after the demographic transition, natural selection should drive an increase in fertility. This may affect projections of the fiscal effects of the “ageing population”. A post giving some background to the paper is here.

Population, Technological Progress and the Evolution of Innovative Potential (with Boris Baer and Juerg Weber): As more people means both more ideas and more mutations, we develop a dual-driver model of evolutionary growth in which both the increasing quantity and evolving innovative potential of the population drives economic growth. My post on the paper is here.

The Evolutionary Foundations of Economics (with Boris Baer and Juerg Weber): A review of how evolutionary biology has been incorporated into economic thinking.


  1. Hi Jason, excellent blog – I wish you well. I wonder if you are going to factor in the influence of diet into your analysis. It would be interesting to see if there are evolutionary effects on the economics of population and the march toward growth economies in the Malthusian era, and what that looks like now, as our diet has changed with processing and additives.

    1. Thanks. The link between diet and growth is something I haven’t invested much time in thinking about. But any dietary change that leads to a higher population leads to more ideas and ultimately more economic growth, so it’s not hard to start thinking about the links.

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