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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Structure and Dynamics

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The Structure and Dynamics eJournal welcomes articles, book reviews, data, simulations, research material, and special issues that examine aspects of human evolution, social structure and behavior, culture, cognition, or related topics. Our goal is to advance the historic mission of anthropology in the broadest sense to describe and explain the range of variation in human biology, society, culture and civilization across time and space. Submissions of databases, software tutorials, programs, and teaching materials are welcomed, as are communications on research materials of interest to a wide variety of science and social science researchers, including networks, dynamical models, and complexity research and related genre.


A Spectral Analysis of World GDP Dynamics: Kondratieff Waves, Kuznets Swings, Juglar and Kitchin Cycles in Global Economic Development, and the 2008–2009 Economic Crisis

The article presents results of spectral analysis that has detected the presence of Kondratieff waves (their period equals approximately 52–53 years) in the world GDP dynamics for the 1870–2007 period. To estimate the statistical significance of the detected cycles a new methodology has been applied. The significance of K-waves in the analyzed data has turned out to be in the range between 4 and 5 per cent. Hence, this spectral analysis has supported the hypothesis of the presence of Kondratieff waves in the world GDP dynamics. In addition, the reduced spectra analysis has indicated a rather high (2–3%) significance of Juglar cycles (with a period of 7–9 years), as well as the one of Kitchin cycles (with a period of 3–4 years). Thus our spectral analysis has also supported the hypothesis of the presence of Juglar and Kitchin cycles in the world GDP dynamics. On the other hand, our analysis suggests that the Kuznets swing should be regarded as the third harmonic of the Kondratieff wave rather than as a separate independent cycle. This research suggests two interpretations of the current global economic crisis. On the one hand, the spectral analysis suggests rather optimistically that the current world economic crisis might mark not the beginning of the downswing phase of the 5th Kondratieff wave, but it may be interpreted as a temporary depression between two peaks of the upswing (whereas the next peak might even exceed the previous one). On the other hand, there also seems to be some evidence supporting another interpretation based on the assumption that the current world financial-economic crisis marks the beginning of the downswing phase of the 5th Kondratieff wave. The article also explores the world GDP dynamics before 1870 and finds that it does not appear possible to detect Kondratieff waves in the world GDP dynamics for the pre-1870 period, though for this period they appear to be detected for the GDP dynamics of the West. This suggests that in the pre-1870 epoch the Modern World System was not sufficiently integrated, and the World System core was not sufficiently strong yet – that is why the rhythm of the Western core’s development was not quite felt on the world level. Only in the subsequent era the World System reached such a level of integration and its core acquired such strength that it appears possible to trace quite securely Kondratieff waves in the World GDP dynamics.

A Framework to Structure Agent-Based Modeling Data for Social-Ecological Systems

Agent-based models (ABMs), perhaps used along with other methods, are increasingly being applied to address problems involving social-ecological systems (SES). However, systematic and standardized techniques for organizing data requirements and collecting information for such models are generally not applied. Defining the types of data that need to be collected is a critical step in instantiating relevant models and detailing behavioral patterns. By organizing data needs into pertinent categories, researchers can focus efforts to make data collection more efficient, provide a clear record of gathered data, conserve project resources, and create models more easily. In this paper, we present a formal method, which we call Delineate, Structure, and Gather (DSG), that has been applied to guide the determination of data requirements, structure data needs, and enable data collection for the development of ABMs addressing SES. The presented framework continues and supplements existing efforts that provide standardization and protocol techniques for constructing ABMs. An active project is presented in order to demonstrate how DSG can be implemented to address SES issues.

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The State and the Supernatural: Support for Prosocial Behavior

Using the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample, Roes and Raymond (2003) find that large societies are more likely to be located in resource-rich environments, engage in warfare, and hold beliefs in gods actively supporting human morality (“moralizing gods”). We revisit the Roes and Raymond study, using the methods presented in a series of papers by Dow and Eff. Our findings suggest that moralizing gods are less likely to be found in resource-rich environments or amongst societies frequently engaged in external warfare. We find that cultural transmission over geographic space is the most significant force in conditioning belief in moralizing gods; that moralizing gods are more likely to be found in pastoral societies; and that the relationship between society size and moralizing gods is non-linear, with both very large and very small societies less likely to have moralizing gods. We explain this non-linearity by arguing that the functions of moralizing gods can also be performed by the state, and we also argue that moralizing gods play an important role in stabilizing property rights.

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