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Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) are social North American ground squirrels whose social system has been shown to vary with food resource distributions, as predicted by the habitat variability-mating system model. We expanded this model to include the effects of variations in population densities, in addition to resource distributions, on both the social system and the individual mating strategies of Gunnison's prairie dogs. Specifically, we predicted that monogamy would be associated with uniform resources, regardless of population density, giving way to polygyny with increasing resource patchiness at intermediate densities, and to multiple males and females at high population densities. In addition,...
On the question of whether natural resources are a curse for growth, the jury is still out. While waiting for a decision, we study whether resource intensity has any effect on social development over and above the effect it might have on income or growth. We measure social development by a combination of health and education outcomes and resource intensity by the share of primary commodities in total merchandise exports. We find that, after controlling for per-capita income and other macroeconomic and institutional factors, a higher dependence on primary commodity exports is negative for social development. The transmission mechanism seems to operate via income inequality and macroeconomic volatility.