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TitleCultural evolution of low fertility at high socio-economic status
PresenterSara Li-Yen Loo (The University of Sydney)
Author(s)Sara Li-Yen Loo
SessionContributed Talks
Time13:00:00 2017-09-26

The cultural evolution of fertility from high to low, in response to
improvements in socio-economic status, has been of increasing interest to
evolutionary biologists. It seems intuitive to assume that greater wealth
enables a large amount of wealth to be endowed to offspring, which would imply
high fertility at high socio-economic status. In many developed countries,
however, the converse is true, with negative correlations being observed between
socio-economic status and fertility. Investigations into the mechanisms
underlying this cultural evolution need to consider not only trade-offs between
the quantity and quality of offspring, but also the effects of status-seeking
and social learning on the fertility decisions of parents. A cultural-evolution
model for understanding the conditions under which low fertility emerges at high
socio-economic status is developed and analysed considering, in particular, the
effect of choosing role models probabilistically across the whole range of
socio-economic status with a gradual preference for imitating parents with high
socio-economic status.