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Minority-Group Innovation

Our paper, "Minority-group incubators and majority-group reservoirs for climate change adaptation," was accepted at Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B. This paper was led by Matt Turner and was a full lab effort. We show that innovations initiated in minority populations are more likely to go to fixation in heterogeneous meta-populations characterized by minority-majority structure. The results of this formal model support an idea that we've suggested in several recent papers (e.g., Jones et al. 2021; Pisor et al. 2022) that subsistence, and indigenous populations more generally, might be a source of broader climate-change adaptation.

These results also support the notion that goes back at least to Coleman (1988) that innovation is likely to arise on the peripheries of cohesive populations, which tend to frown on deviance, even if it is positive (then we call it "innovation"!).

Another cool element that we add to this area is highlighting the complementary roles of the minority and the majority subpopulations. While the minority population is essential for incubating potential adaptations, the majority population can act as a buffer against stochastic loss, once the innovation has spillover over into it and increased to a sufficient frequency. 

The paper is already available as a preprint on the SocArXiv.