The Marginal Utility of Inequality: A Global Examination Across Ethnographic Societies

Human Nature Vol/Iss. 31(4) Springer London Published In Pages: 361-386
By Wilson, Kurt M., Codding, Brian F.


In this study, the authors draw from intensity theory and combine previous research from the fields of behavioral ecology, economics, and social evolution to analyze drivers in the emergence and persistence of inequality across the world. They propose that environmental heterogeneity and circumscription (the difficulty of moving and establishing oneself in a new environment relative to remaining in the current one) play a significant role in the stratification of societies. Their results indicate that situations arise from various environmental conditions and levels of circumscription that may result in an individual giving up autonomy for material gain, thus favoring inequality.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
Standard Cross Cultural Sample (SCCS)Other researchers135 societies

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:anj.droe