Kinship, Cooperation, and the Evolution of Moral Systems

The Quarterly Journal of Economics Vol/Iss. 134(2) Oxford University Press Oxford Published In Pages: 953-1019
By Enke, Benjamin


In this paper, the author argues that moral systems evolved as a way to enforce cooperation between people outside of kin groups. Because cooperation within kin groups has apparent adaptive advantages, it is argued that these moral systems will be less important for societies with tight kin groups and conversely more important for those with looser kin groups. In order to test this theory, the author creates an original model that incorporates both ethnographic data and data from contemporary countries. Thus, it is postulated that historical kinship practices will influence contemporary systems. The paper concludes that there is sufficient historical evidence for this theory.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
Ethnographic Atlas (EA)by other researchers
World Values Survey (WVS)by other researchers
European Social Surveyby other researchers
Global Preference Surveyby other researchers
Moral Foundations Questionaireby other researchers

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:dmccloskey103 anj.droe