To investigate how culture induced by the irrigation-intensive rice cultivation influences people's risk taking and cooperative behavior, we make use of several individual choice tasks and behavioral games together with 1,104 university students recruited in Beijing. We find that cooperativeness proxied by the level of contribution in the public goods game varies positively with the proportion of rice cultivation in subjects' birth province. This finding is mutually replicated in an independent study by Zhou (2017). It is further corroborated by examining survey data relating to cooperativeness from the 26,000 strong China Family Panel Studies. At the same time, we find a positive relation between the proportion of rice cultivation and risk taking. This latter finding renders a novel perspective to the reported East-West differentiation in risk attitude and together with the link to cooperativeness points to an underlying social efficiency orientation. We further identify a genetic basis for both cooperativeness and risk taking. The dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) exon III coding region polymorphisms 2R genotypes are associated with increased cooperativeness as well as risk taking. Finally, we find evidence of a gene-culture coevolution across 12,000 years in favor of the 2R genotypes of DRD4 using province-level history on the introduction of rice farming.
Chew Soo Hong is a Professor and Provost’s Chair at the National University of Singapore. Professor Chew is one of the famous economists in the world. Since 2012, he is a Fellow of Econometric Society, which is the 11th Chinese Fellow since the establishment of Econometric Society in 1933. His research interests include decision theory, behavioral and biological economics and experimental economics. He used to be a professor or a chair professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, University of Arizona, Johns Hopkins University, and University of California, Irvine. His work has been published in top journals, such as PNAS, Econometrica, Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Economic Theory, Management Science, etc.