Online citations, reference lists, and bibliographies.
← Back to Search

Kinship, Cooperation, And The Evolution Of Moral Systems

B. Enke
Published 2017 · Sociology

Cite This
Download PDF
Analyze on Scholarcy
Share
Across the social sciences, a key question is how societies manage to enforce cooperative behavior in social dilemmas such as public goods provision or bilateral trade. According to an influential body of theories in psychology, anthropology, and evolutionary biology, the answer is that humans have evolved moral systems: packages of functional psychological and biological mechanisms that regulate economic behavior, including a belief in moralizing gods; moral values; negative reciprocity; and emotions of shame, guilt, and disgust. Based on a stylized model, this paper empirically studies the structure and evolution of these moral traits as a function of historical heterogeneity in extended kinship relationships. The evidence shows that societies with a historically tightly-knit kinship structure regulate behavior through communal moral values; revenge taking; emotions of external shame; and notions of purity and disgust. In loose kinship societies, on the other hand, cooperation appears to be enforced through universal moral values; internalized guilt; altruistic punishment; and an apparent rise and fall of moralizing religions. These patterns point to the presence of internally consistent, but culturally variable, functional moral systems. Consistent with the model, the relationship between kinship ties, economic development, and the structure of the mediating moral systems amplified over time.
This paper references
10.1257/AER.103.3.86
The Transmission of Democracy: From the Village to the Nation-State
P. Giuliano (2013)
Cultural determinants in experiencing shame and guilt.
Herald G. Wallbott (1995)
10.1037/a0014726
Linking social change and developmental change: shifting pathways of human development.
P. Greenfield (2009)
Culture’s Consequences: International Differences
Hofstede (2011)
10.1177/0022022110381120
Climato-Economic Origins of Variation in Ingroup Favoritism
E. V. D. Vliert (2011)
Xiaotong Fei, From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society
Ronald R. Robel (1997)
10.1086/426036
Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools
Joseph G. Altonji (2005)
10.1126/science.1199071
Co-Residence Patterns in Hunter-Gatherer Societies Show Unique Human Social Structure
K. Hill (2011)
10.2139/SSRN.3201031
The Origins of WEIRD Psychology
Jonathan Schulz (2018)
treatment without availability of punishment in the cross-cultural public goods experiments
Herrmann (2008)
10.1007/S10887-016-9134-7
Natural land productivity, cooperation and comparative development
Anastasia Litina (2014)
10.3386/W12888
Women, Work, and Culture
Raquel Fernández (2007)
Why We Cooperate (Cambridge
Tomasello (2009)
10.1006/jeth.2000.2678
The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences
Alberto Bisin (2001)
Irrigation, Collectivism and Long-Run Technological Divergence
Johannes C. Buggle (2017)
The Greeks and the Irrational number 43
Dodds (1957)
10.3982/ECTA14634
Parenting with Style: Altruism and Paternalism in Intergenerational Preference Transmission
Matthias Doepke (2014)
Altruistic punishment in PGG. Relative prevalence of altruistic over antisocial punishment in the public goods game of Herrmann et al
(2008)
10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.09.007
Cultural differences in moral judgment and behavior, across and within societies.
J. Graham (2016)
10.1016/J.EVOLHUMBEHAV.2014.05.003
Amazonian horticulturalists live in larger, more related groups than hunter–gatherers
R. Walker (2014)
10.1017/S0140525X11000021
Parasite-stress promotes in-group assortative sociality: the cases of strong family ties and heightened religiosity.
C. L. Fincher (2012)
10.5860/choice.195747
The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter
J. Henrich (2015)
10.1037/H0093718
Studies of independence and conformity: I. A minority of one against a unanimous majority.
S. Asch (1956)
10.1037/0033-295X.98.2.224
Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation.
Hazel Rose Markus (1991)
Large-Scale Psychological Differences Within China Explained by Rice Versus Wheat Agriculture
Y. He (2014)
Kinship: An Introduction to the Basic Concepts
R. Parkin (1997)
10.1257/AER.P20171088
Keeping it in the Family: Lineage Organization and the Scope of Trust in Sub-Saharan Africa
Jacob Moscona (2017)
10.5860/choice.51-4949
Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap between Us and Them
R. L. Bassett (2015)
10.1016/S1090-5138(02)00134-4
Belief in moralizing gods
Frans L. Roes (2003)
10.2139/ssrn.2979591
Moral Values and Voting
B. Enke (2018)
10.1037/0022-3514.66.2.310
Evidence for universality and cultural variation of differential emotion response patterning.
K. Scherer (1994)
10.1007/S10887-007-9017-Z
The modern impact of precolonial centralization in Africa
Nicola Gennaioli (2007)
10.2139/ssrn.1682575
Culture, Institutions and the Wealth of Nations
Yuriy Gorodnichenko (2010)
10.2139/ssrn.1824744
Persecution Perpetuated: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Violence in Nazi Germany
Nico Voigtländer (2011)
10.1098/rspb.2008.0094
Pathogen prevalence predicts human cross-cultural variability in individualism/collectivism
C. L. Fincher (2008)
Emotions (New York
Sapolsky (1993)
10.1525/ETH.1999.27.1.62
Why Cultural Psychology
R. Shweder (1999)
10.1126/science.1197754
Differences Between Tight and Loose Cultures: A 33-Nation Study
M. Gelfand (2011)
10.2139/ssrn.1679857
Germs, Social Networks and Growth
A. Fogli (2010)
Climate Risk, Cooperation, and the Co-Evolution of Culture and Institutions
Johannes C. Buggle (2017)
10.2139/ssrn.2847222
Kinship, Fractionalization and Corruption
Mahsa Akbari (2019)
10.2307/3032420
The chrysanthemum and the sword : patterns of Japanese culture
R. Benedict (1978)
10.2307/2393017
Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values
Walter J. Lonner (1980)
National institutions and subnational
S. Michalopoulos (2013)
10.1162/QJEC.2010.125.4.1627
Post-1500 Population Flows and the Long Run Determinants of Economic Growth and Inequality
L. Putterman (2010)
10.4269/AJTMH.2001.64.85
The economic burden of malaria.
J. Gallup (2001)
10.1257/AER.20130604
The Effect of the Tsetse Fly on African Development
M. Alsan (2015)
10.1146/annurev-psych-113011-143812
Origins of human cooperation and morality.
M. Tomasello (2013)
On the biological and cultural evolution of shame: Using internet search tools to weight values in many cultures
K. Jaffe (2014)
10.2139/ssrn.1914379
The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Evidence from Savings Rates, Health Behaviors, and Retirement Assets
M. Chen (2013)
Cultural Differences in Moral Judgment and Behavior, Across and Within Societies,
Graham (2016)
10.3386/W23617
Understanding Cultural Persistence and Change
P. Giuliano (2017)
Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange?,
Guiso (2009)
A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and Its Evolution
S. Bowles (2011)
The geography of thought : how Asians and Westerners think differently--and why
R. Nisbett (2003)
10.2139/ssrn.2877828
The Churches’ Bans on Consanguineous Marriages, Kin-networks and Democracy*
J. Schulz (2016)
The Effect of the TseTse Fly on African Development,
Alsan (2015)
10.1038/nature16980
Moralistic gods, supernatural punishment and the expansion of human sociality
B. G. Purzycki (2016)
Political DecisionMaking and Conflict: Additional Cross-Cultural Codes and Scales,
Ross (1983)
10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.09.025
Behave: The biology of humans at our best and worst
G. Ball (2017)
10.1006/JTBI.2003.3104
The hitchhiker's guide to altruism: gene-culture coevolution, and the internalization of norms.
H. Gintis (2003)
Can Policy Crowd Out Culture?
Natalie Bau (2016)
10.1257/AER.90.4.980
Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments
E. Fehr (1999)
10.2139/ssrn.1576774
Risk, Cooperation and the Economic Origins of Social Trust: An Empirical Investigation
Ruben Durante (2009)
10.1162/QJEC.2008.123.3.905
The Scope of Cooperation: Values and Incentives
G. Tabellini (2008)
10.1162/003355300555475
Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation
S. Knack (1997)
10.1111/1467-839X.00031
Filial Piety and Loyalty: Two Types of Social Identification in Confucianism
K. Hwang (1999)
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Dwight D. Murphey (2013)
10.1257/JEL.53.4.898
Culture and Institutions
Alberto F. Alesina (2013)
10.7551/mitpress/9988.003.0009
Why We Cooperate
Jillian J. Jordan (2014)
10.1093/QJE/QJY013
Global Evidence on Economic Preferences
A. Falk (2017)
Based on agreement with statement "It is important to her/him to be humble and modest. She/he tries not to draw attention to herself/himself
10.1038/172972b0
Cultural Anthropology
P. Bohannan (1953)
10.2307/2802351
The Development of the Family and Marriage in Europe
J. Goody (1983)
10.1016/B978-0-12-407236-7.00002-4
Moral Foundations Theory: The Pragmatic Validity of Moral Pluralism
J. Graham (2012)
10.1038/415137a
Altruistic punishment in humans
E. Fehr (2002)
Ethnographic Atlas,
Murdock (1967)
10.1177/0003122411420817
How General Is Trust in “Most People”? Solving the Radius of Trust Problem
J. Delhey (2011)
10.1257/aer.20150020
The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference
Oded Galor (2016)
10.1177/0022002186017002006
Individualism-Collectivism
C. Hui (1986)
Based on agreement with statement "She/he believes that people should do what they're told. She/he thinks people should follow rules at all times, even when no-one is watching
10.1073/pnas.0630443100
The evolution of altruistic punishment
R. Boyd (2003)
10.1016/J.JCE.2016.12.003
The Clan and the Corporation: Sustaining Cooperation in China and Europe
Avner Greif (2015)
10.1257/JEP.20.2.73
The Role of Family in Family Firms
M. Bertrand (2006)
10.2307/2086453
Family and Civilization
C. C. Zimmerman (2008)
10.2139/ssrn.1031915
Institutions and Culture
G. Tabellini (2007)
10.1093/QJE/QJT005
On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough
Alberto F. Alesina (2011)
10.1080/20780389.2018.1435267
Ancestral Characteristics of Modern Populations
P. Giuliano (2018)
From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society (Berkeley
Fei (1992)
10.1017/S0140525X1500059X
The economic origins of ultrasociality.
J. Gowdy (2016)
10.4269/AJTMH.2004.70.486
A global index representing the stability of malaria transmission.
A. Kiszewski (2004)
10.1093/sw/35.3.195
Family ties.
S. Briggs (2001)
Wallbott, “Evidence for Universality and Cultural
York Penguin (2017)
10.1353/RAH.2001.0040
Keeping It in the Family, Post-DNA
D. Waldstreicher (2001)
10.2307/3773578
Political decision making and conflict: additional cross-cultural codes and sacales
M. H. Ross (1983)
10.1093/QJE/QJT029
National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa
S. Michalopoulos (2013)
10.1126/science.1158757
The Origin and Evolution of Religious Prosociality
A. Norenzayan (2008)
Prosocial Religions,
Oster (2016)
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
J. Haidt (2012)
Cultural Anthropology (Belmont
Haviland (2002)
Evidence for universality and cultural
K. R. Scherer (1994)
Bite and Divide: Ancestral Exposure to Malaria and the Emergence and Persistence of Ethnic Diversity in Africa,
Cervellati (2016)
10.1257/000282806777212602
Family Structure, Institutions, and Growth: The Origins and Implications of Western Corporations
Avner Greif (2006)
10.2307/3772751
Ethnographic Atlas: A Summary
G. Murdock (1967)
10.1257/AER.101.5.2003
Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch
Quamrul H. Ashraf (2011)
Why We Cooperate (Cambridge
Tomasello (2009)
10.3982/ECTA14139
The Evolution of Culture and Institutions: Evidence from the Kuba Kingdom
S. Lowes (2015)
contemporary african development
S. Michalopoulos (2018)
10.2139/ssrn.2206198
A Western Reversal Since the Neolithic? The Long-Run Impact of Early Agriculture
O. Olsson (2012)
10.1086/261959
Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies
Avner Greif (1994)
Culture and Language: The Case of Cultural Dimensionsand Personal Pronoun Use,
Kashima (1998)
On the Economic Origins of Constraints on Women’s Sexuality
A. Becker (2018)
10.1016/J.JPUBECO.2014.04.010
The cost of racial animus on a black candidate: Evidence using Google search data☆
S. Stephens-Davidowitz (2014)
Family and Civilization
Ruby Jo Reeves Kennedy (1948)
10.2307/1399622
Thinking Through Cultures: Expe-ditions in Cultural Psychology
R. A. Shweder (1991)
10.1098/rstb.2009.0134
Culture and the evolution of human cooperation
R. Boyd (2009)
10.1016/S0047-2727(01)00084-6
Who Trusts Others?
Alberto F. Alesina (2000)
Experiencing Emotion: A
K. R. Scherer (1986)
10.1525/AE.1988.15.4.02A00500
The Evolution of Human Societies: From Foraging Group to Agrarian State. ALLEN W. JOHNSON and TIMOTHY EARLE
E. B. Ross (1988)
10.1111/ecoj.12433
Malaria and Early African Development: Evidence from the Sickle Cell Trait
Emilio Depetris�?Chauvin (2018)
Cultural models of shame and guilt.
Ying Wong (2007)
10.2307/2950325
From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society, a Translation of Fei Xiaotong's Xiangtu Zhongguo.Gary G. Hamilton , Wang Zheng
R. Arkush (1996)
10.2139/ssrn.894038
Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?
P. Giuliano (2006)
Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them
J. Greene (2001)
10.1093/qje/qjx026
Clans, Guilds, and Markets: Apprenticeship Institutions and Growth in the Pre-Industrial Economy
David de la Croix (2016)
10.1038/nature17160
Intrinsic Honesty and the Prevalence of Rule Violations across Societies
S. Gächter (2016)
10.1016/S0003-3472(87)80095-7
The Biology of Moral Systems
D. Barash (1987)
10.1086/225230
Societal Complexity and Familial Complexity: Evidence for the Curvilinear Hypothesis
R. L. Blumberg (1972)
Cultural determinants in experiencing shame and guilt.
Herald G. Wallbott (1995)
10.5860/choice.51-5544
Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict
A. Norenzayan (2013)
10.1177/0022022114563611
The Index of Cultural Tightness and Looseness Among 68 Countries
Irem Uz (2015)
10.1016/0142-694X(82)90089-8
Culture's consequences: international differences in work-related values
S. Gregory (1982)
Matrilineal Kinship and Spousal Cooperation: Evidence from the Matrilineal Belt
S. Lowes (2017)



This paper is referenced by
10.2139/ssrn.3480934
Housing Market Regulations and Strategic Divorce in China
Josefine Alm (2020)
10.1016/J.JEBO.2019.07.015
Kinship, Fractionalization and Corruption
Mahsa Akbari (2019)
10.2139/ssrn.3216765
Trust and Shareholder Voting
Simon Lesmeister (2019)
10.1126/science.aaz9986
The historical roots of economic development
N. Nunn (2020)
10.1017/9781108761208
From Pews to Politics: Religious Sermons and Political Participation in Africa
G. McClendon (2019)
When No Bad Deed Goes Punished: Relational Contracting in Ghana and the UK
E. Davies (2018)
10.1080/15623599.2020.1720059
Balance between affect and outcome control or face and behaviour control for better learning: evidence from Chinese engineering project team
Suying Yang (2020)
Do Disasters Affect Adherence to Social Norms?
M. Winkler (2020)
10.1051/shsconf/20207402002
The Age of Automatization and the Evolution of Globalization
F. Bran (2020)
Science Journals — AAAS
N. Nunn (2020)
10.1073/pnas.1804639115
Cultural impediments to learning to cooperate: An experimental study of high- and low-caste men in rural India
B. A. Brooks (2018)
The Costs of ‘Tenancy in Common’: Evidence from Indian Land Allotment∗
C. Dippel (2019)
10.2139/ssrn.3300726
Identity, Beliefs, and Political Conflict
Nicola Gennaioli (2018)
Driven by Institutions, Shaped by Culture: Human Capital and the Secularization of Marriage in Italy
David de la Croix (2019)
Folklore
S. Michalopoulos (2019)
10.1126/science.aau8712
Civic honesty around the globe
A. Cohn (2019)
Material Incentives and Effort Choice: Evidence from an Online Experiment across Countries
E. Davies (2020)
10.1007/s10887-020-09178-3
Growing collectivism: irrigation, group conformity and technological divergence
Johannes C. Buggle (2020)
10.1016/j.leaqua.2019.07.003
What explains cultural differences in leadership styles? On the agricultural origins of participative and directive leadership
Sirio Lonati (2020)
10.1086/708857
Moral Values and Voting
B. Enke (2020)
The Costs of Workplace Favoritism: Evidence from Promotions in Chinese High Schools∗
Xuan Li (2018)
The Cash Crop Revolution, Colonialism and Legacies of Spatial Inequality: Evidence from Africa
P. Roessler (2020)
10.1017/s1744137420000211
Cultural roots of family ties
L. Davis (2020)
10.3386/w27706
History as Evolution
N. Nunn (2020)
The Costs of Fractionated Land-Ownership: Evidence from Indian Land Allotment∗
C. Dippel (2019)
10.1126/science.aau5141
The Church, intensive kinship, and global psychological variation
J. Schulz (2019)
10.1177/0020715220937752
In-group trust and self-rated health in East Asia using quadri-national survey data
Pildoo Sung (2020)
10.2139/ssrn.3671894
Narratives and the Economics of the Family
Robert J. Akerlof (2020)
10.3386/W27511
Moral Universalism and the Structure of Ideology
B. Enke (2019)
10.2139/ssrn.3274884
Cultural Roots of Family Ties
Lewis Davis (2018)
10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2020.07.002
Kinship intensity and the use of mental states in moral judgment across societies
C. M. Curtin (2020)
10.1016/j.euroecorev.2020.103442
Individual Heterogeneity and Cultural Attitudes in Credence Goods Provision
J. Tang (2020)
See more
Semantic Scholar Logo Some data provided by SemanticScholar