David Hugh-Jones

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I'm an associate professor in the School of Economics at the University of East Anglia. My PhD was from the University of Essex in Political Science. My interests include culture, social norms, honesty, genoeconomics and my dog Roly.


Working Papers

These papers (possibly in older versions) may also be available to download from ResearchGate or elsewhere.

People’s preferences about the fair distribution of resources vary within and between different popula- tions, and this affects many economic and political outcomes. We argue that a source of these differences is the social transmission of fairness norms from peers during adolescence. We ran an experiment on transmission of fairness norms in a friendship network of 11-15 year olds. Observing others’ choices affects young people’s fairness norms, as expressed in both their own choices and the attitudes they express. Our results show how young people can adopt redistributive norms via the social influence of their peer group. We also examine how the strength of social influence varies with friendship status and network position.

Natural selection has been documented in contemporary humans, but little is known about the mechanisms behind it. We test for natural selection through the association between 33 polygenic scores and fertility, across two generations, using data from UK Biobank (N = 409,629 British subjects with European ancestry). Consistently over time, polygenic scores associated with lower (higher) earnings, education and health are selected for (against). Selection effects are concentrated among lower SES groups, younger parents, people with more lifetime sexual partners, and people not living with a partner. The direction of natural selection is reversed among older parents (22+), or after controlling for age at first live birth. These patterns are in line with economic theories of fertility, in which higher earnings may either increase or decrease fertility via income and substitution effects in the labour market. Studying natural selection can help us understand the genetic architecture of health outcomes: we find evidence in modern day Great Britain for multiple natural selection pressures that vary between subgroups in the direction and strength of their effects, that are strongly related to the socio-economic system, and that may contribute to health inequalities across income groups.

(c) David Hugh-Jones 2007-2019. All rights reserved.