Why Hunter-Gatherers Work: An Ancient Version of the Problem of Public Goods [and Comments and Reply]

@article{Hawkes1993WhyHW,
  title={Why Hunter-Gatherers Work: An Ancient Version of the Problem of Public Goods [and Comments and Reply]},
  author={Kristen Hawkes and Jon C. Altman and Stephen Beckerman and Roy Richard Grinker and Henry C. Harpending and Robert J. Jeske and Nicolas Peterson and Eric Alden Smith and George W. Wenzel and John E. Yellen},
  journal={Current Anthropology},
  year={1993},
  volume={34},
  pages={341 - 361}
}
People who hunt and gather for a living share some resources more widely than others. A favored hypothesis to explain the differential sharing is that giving up portions of large, unpredictable resources obligates others to return shares of them later, reducing everyone's variance in consumption. I show that this insurance argument is not empirically supported for !Kung, Ache, and Hadza foragers. An alternative hypothesis is that the cost of not sharing these resources is too high to pay. If… Expand
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