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Aspects of the Physical and Social Ecology Affect Human Capital and Intelligence, Directly and Indirectly, in Italy, Spain and Mexico

Heitor B.F. Fernandes and Michael A. Woodley

Abstract

Human capital is often seen as a corollary of “human development”, however it is unclear if it is specialization or rather diversification that best represents the trajectory of development that fosters human capital. Similarly, although intelligence is often observed to be associated with human capital, alternative models that stress the importance of other ecological factors are rarely directly compared. Here we examine the structural relations between mean regional IQ and Human Capital, as well as the relations of these with macroeconomic and phenotypic diversity measures, egalitarianism, life history speed, population density, parasite burden and climate for subnational regions in Italy, Spain, and Mexico. Results suggest that human capital is a complex phenomenon explained by both macroeconomic and phenotypic diversity, and further directly influenced by predictors of diversity such as egalitarianism and slow life history. Moreover, intelligence cannot be accounted for by human capital and its biodemographic antecedents alone, being further influenced directly by climatic variables.

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