Andrey Korotayev: Wikis


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Andrey Korotayev

Born 1961
Residence Russia Russia
Nationality Russia Russia
Fields cross-cultural studies, mathematical modeling of social, economic, and historical dynamics; Islamic and pre-Islamic history
Institutions Russian State University for the Humanities and Russian Academy of Sciences
Alma mater Moscow State University
Known for contributions to mathematical modeling of the World System development and cross-cultural studies
Notable awards Russian Science Support Foundation Award in "The Best Economists of the Russian Academy of Sciences" nomination (2006) [1]

Andrey Korotayev (Андрей Витальевич Коротаев, born 1961) is an anthropologist, economic historian, and sociologist, with major contributions to world-systems theory, cross-cultural studies, Near Eastern history, and mathematical modeling of social and economic macrodynamics.


Education and Career

Born in Moscow, Andrey Korotayev attended Moscow State University, where he received a B.A. degree in 1984 and an M.A. in 1989. He earned a Ph.D. in 1993 from Manchester University, and in 1998 a Doctor of Sciences degree from the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Since 2000, he has been Professor and Director of the Anthropology of the East Center at the Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, and Senior Research Fellow in the Oriental Institute and Institute for African Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences. In 2003-2004, he was a visiting member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.[2]

He is co-editor of the journals Social Evolution & History and Journal of Globalization Studies, as well as History & Mathematics almanac (together with Leonid Grinin and Arno Tausch). Together with Askar Akayev and George Malinetsky he is a coordinator of the Russian Academy of Sciences Program "System Analysis and Mathematical Modeling of World Dynamics".

Korotayev is a laureate of the Russian Science Support Foundation in "The Best Economists of the Russian Academy of Sciences" nomination (2006).[3]

Major contributions

Andrey Korotayev's major contributions belong to four fields:


Mathematical modeling of social, demographic, economic, and historical dynamics ("Cliodynamics")

In this field he has proposed one of the most convincing mathematical explanations for von Foerster's Doomsday Equation.[1] In collaboration with his colleagues, Artemy Malkov and Daria Khaltourina, he has shown that till the 1970s the hyperbolic growth of the world population was accompanied by quadratic-hyperbolic growth of the world GDP, and developed a number of mathematical models describing both this phenomenon, and the World System withdrawal from the blow-up regime observed in the recent decades. The hyperbolic growth of the world population and quadratic-hyperbolic growth of the world GDP observed till the 1970s have been correlated by him and his colleagues to a non-linear second order positive feedback between the demographic growth and technological development that can be spelled out as follows: technological growth - increase in the carrying capacity of land for people - demographic growth - more people - more potential inventors - acceleration of technological growth - accelerating growth of the carrying capacity - the faster population growth - accelerating growth of the number of potential inventors - faster technological growth - hence, the faster growth of the Earth's carrying capacity for people, and so on.[2]

He has also shown that the world urban population growth curve has also up till recently a quadratic-hyperbolic pattern [4]. In addition, Korotayev and his colleagues have proposed a number of forecasts of the World System development up to 2100.[3]

In collaboration with Alexander Markov he has shown that a similar mathematical model can be developed to describe the macrotrends of biological evolution.[5]

Korotayev has also developed a number of mathematical models of interaction between the very long-term, "millennial" hyperbolic trend dynamics of social systems and the shorter-term, "secular" (that is, observed at the scale of centuries), cyclical dynamics. He has also produced a number of mathematical models describing specifically long-term political-demographic dynamics of Egypt.[4] In collaboration with Daria Khaltourina he has also made a significant contribution to the study of the factors of the current Russian demographic crisis.[5]

World-system analysis

Andrey Korotayev claims that the present-day world-system ("the World System"), which in the 2nd millennium CE encompassed the whole globe, originated in the 9th millennium BCE in direct connection with the Neolithic revolution.[6] According to Korotayev, the center of this system was originally in West Asia.

In general, Korotayev and his colleagues have suggested a rather novel approach to the world-system analysis. Within this approach the main emphasis is moved to the generation and diffusion of innovations. If a society borrows systematically important technological innovations, its evolution already cannot be considered as really independent, but should rather be considered as a part of a larger evolving entity, within which such innovations are systematically produced and diffused. The main idea of the world-system approach was to find the evolving unit. The basic idea was that it is impossible to account for the evolution of a single society without taking into consideration that it was a part of a larger whole. However, traditional world-system analysis concentrated on bulk-good movements, and core – periphery exploitation, somehow neglecting the above-mentioned dimension. However, according to Korotayev, the information network turns out to be the oldest mechanism of the World System integration, and remained extremely important throughout its whole history, remaining important up to the present. It seems to be even more important than the core – periphery exploitation (for example, without taking this mechanism into consideration it appears impossible to account for such things as the demographic explosion in the 20th century, whose proximate cause was the dramatic decline of mortality, but whose main ultimate cause was the diffusion of innovations produced almost exclusively within the World System core). This also suggests a redefinition of the World System core. Within the approach in question the core is not the World Syste zone, which exploits other zones, but rather the World System core is the zone with the highest innovation donor/recipient ratio, the principal innovation donor.[7] Note also his recent research on Kondratieff waves in the world GDP dynamics.[8]

In addition, it appears necessary to maintain that Korotayev's theory of the World System development suggests a novel approach to the formation of a general theory of social macroevolution. The approach prevalent in social evolutionism is based on the assumption that evolutionary regularities of simple systems are significantly simpler than the ones characteristic of complex systems. A rather logical outcome of this almost self-evident assumption is that one should first study the evolutionary regularities of simple systems and only after understanding them move to more complex ones, whereas Korotayev's findings suggest that the simplest regularities accounting for extremely large proportions of all the macrovariation can be found precisely for the largest possible social system – the human world, and, hence, the study of social evolutiion should proceed from the detection of simple regularities of the development of the most complex systems to the study of the complex laws of the dynamics of simple social systems.[9]

Cross-cultural studies

From a complexity perspective Korotayev's 2004 book on world religions establishes a key point, that of the bifurcations of social and kinship organization that coalesced historically around the differential practices of the major world religions. It draws on the World Cultural database and the world religion as well as other variables. This is a book of startling simplicity and depth that suggests an empirical solution to viewing the subjectivist/objectivist dilemmas in the social sciences and history. It will have a profound effect on how comparison is done in the future in anthropology, and suggests an answer to why some anthropologists, starting with Geertz, are reluctant to suggest comparison as an adequate method. The Murdockian comparative approach, up to Korotayev, had developed to the point where the nonindependence of cultures was well-recognized, and ways of taking the larger configurations of cultural systems into account had been reckoned to lie, in the latest iteration, along lines of high-order proto-linguistic communities. Korotayev demonstrates the effects of breaking what might be seen as a ritual taboo of Murdockian comparison: Thou Shalt Not Code World Religion. By doing so, Korotayev releases the Murdockian spell that lingers over the comparative approach in anthropology, and goes on to demonstrate the powerful effects of world religious communities — dating from what Jaspers calls the "Axial Age" (800–200 BCE) — on the preservation and differentiation of distinctive social and political structures in Eurasia. His introduction and conclusion suggest that an objectivist natural history approach to human history, in which subjective factors are of local importance but fade out in terms of lasting effects over generations, is a valid approach to the "pre-Axial" condition of human societies, while a subjectivist history of consciousness is a necessary complement to the "post-Axial" condition. Korotayev succeeds in placing these two complementary approaches in context and showing their linkages in terms of how subjective and religious factors play out in human history alongside objective factors such as demography and ecology, each informing the other. He shows how it is impossible to arrive at valid inferential results from comparative approaches without an integration of the two, a situation he aptly calls "Galton's opportunity" for those are of century-old critiques of the comparative method. He reader will be surprised at the depth of empirical comparative findings in this short book. Following Murray Leaf's Man, Mind and Science (1974) this work is a major contribution to repair of the material/ideational rift in anthropology.

One of his particular contributions in this field is connected with the classical anthropological issue of determinants of matrilocal versus patrilocal postmarital residence. Early theories explaining the determinants of postmarital residence (e.g., Lewis Henry Morgan, Edward Tylor, or George Peter Murdock) connected it with the sexual division of labor. However, to date, cross-cultural tests of this hypothesis using worldwide samples have failed to find any significant relationship between these two variables. Korotayev's tests show that the female contribution to subsistence does correlate significantly with matrilocal residence in general; however, this correlation is masked by a general polygyny factor. Although an increase in the female contribution to subsistence tends to lead to matrilocal residence, it also tends simultaneously to lead to general non-sororal polygyny which effectively destroys matrilocality. If this polygyny factor is controlled (e. g., through a multiple regression model), division of labor turns out to be a significant predictor of postmarital residence. Thus, Murdock's hypotheses regarding the relationships between the sexual division of labor and postmarital residence were basically correct, though, as has been shown by Korotayev, the actual relationships between those two groups of variables are more complicated than he expected.[10]

In this field Andrey Korotayev was also one of the pioneers (together with his colleagues) of the study of correlation between spatial distributions of folklore-mythological motifs [11] and genetic markers[12].

Studies into the long-term evolution of sociopolitical systems in Northeast Yemen, Subsaharan Africa and into the origins of Islam

Korotayev has made a special contribution in this field by detecting principal trends in the evolution of Yemeni cultures through application of quantitative methods to the analysis of mass epigraphic sources in the Sabaic language. Korotayev has thereby discovered the phenomenon of consolidation of the clan organization in North-East Yemen in the late 1st millennium BCE as well as the transition from chiefdoms to tribes in early medieval Yemen [13]. He was also the first to provide convincing evidence for the existence of matrilineal descent organization in Pre-Islamic Arabia. [14]

Korotayev and his colleagues have also made significant contriutions to the study of political-demographic dynamics in Subsaharan Africa.[15]

Korotayev has also done (together with his colleagues Vladimir Klimenko and Dmitry Proussakov) a significant contribution to the study of the origins of Islam. Korotayev and his colleagues suggest to view the origins of Islam against the background of the 6th century AD Arabian socioecological crisis whose model is specified by Korotayev and his colleagues through the study of climatological, seismological, volcanological and epidemiological history of the period. They find that most sociopolitical systems of the Arabs reacted to the socioecological crisis by getting rid of the rigid supratribal political structures (kingdoms and chiefdoms) which started posing a real threat to their very survival. The decades of fighting which led to the destruction of the most of the Arabian kingdoms and chiefdoms (reflected in Ayyam al-`Arab tradition) led to the elaboration of some definite "antiroyal" freedom-loving tribal ethos. At the beginning of the 7th century a tribe which would recognize themselves as subjects of some terrestrial supratribal political authority, a "king", risked to lose its honour. However, this seems not to be applicable to the authority of another type, the "celestial" one. At the meantime the early 7th century evidences the merging of the Arabian tradition of prophecy and the Arabian Monotheist "Rahmanist" tradition which produced "the Arabian prophetic movement". The Monotheist "Rahmanist" prophets appear to have represented a supratribal authority just of the type many Arab tribes were looking for at this very time, which seems to explain to a certain extent those prophets' political success (including the extreme political success of Muhammad) [16].


Korotayev has written over 20 books and 150 articles dealing with his research interests [6]. These include Ancient Yemen (Oxford University Press, 1995), World Religions and Social Evolution of the Old World Oikumene Civilizations: A Cross-cultural Perspective (Edwin Mellen Press, 2004), and Introduction to Social Macrodynamics (KomKniga, 2006, with Artemy Malkov and Daria Khaltourina). Among his more important journal articles are "Origins of Islam" in 1999 Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae (with Vladimir Klimenko and Dmitry Proussakov), "Regions Based on Social Structure: A Reconsideration" in the 2000 Current Anthropology (with Alexander Kazankov), A Compact Macromodel of World System Evolution in the 2005 Journal of World Systems Research, and The World System Urbanization Dynamics: A quantitative analysis in History & Mathematics: Historical Dynamics and Development of Complex Societies (Ed. by Peter Turchin, Leonid Grinin et al., p. 44–62. Moscow: KomKniga, 2006).

Edited volumes by Andrey Korotayev

  • Forecasting and Modeling of Crises and World Dynamics. Moscow: LKI/URSS, 2010 <co-editor, with Askar Akayev and Georgy Malinetsky; in Russian>.
  • System Monitoring of Global and Regional Risks. Moscow: LKI/URSS, 2010 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • Evolution: Problems and Discussions. Moscow: LKI/URSS, 2010 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • History and Mathematics. Evolutionary Historical Macrodynamics. Moscow: LIBROCOM/URSS, 2010 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • Causes of the Russian Revolution. Moscow: LKI/URSS, 2010 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • System Monitoring. Global and Regional Development. Moscow: LIBROCOM /URSS, 2010 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • History and Mathematics. Processes and Models. М.: URSS, 2009 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • Hierarchy and Power in the History of Civilizations: Political Aspects of Modernity / Ed. by L. E. Grinin, D. D. Beliaev, A. V. Korotayev. Moscow: LIBROCOM/URSS, 2008 <co-editor; in English>.
  • Problems of Mathematical History. Historical Reconstruction, Forecasting, Methodology. М.: LIBROCOM /URSS, 2008 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • Problems of Mathematical History. Mathematical Modeling of Historical Processes. М.: LIBROCOM /URSS, 2008 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • Problems of Mathematical History. Basics, Information Resources, Data Analysis. М.: LIBROCOM /URSS, 2008. С. 235–245 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • History and Mathematics. Models and Theories. Moscow: LKI/URSS, 2008 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • Alcohol Catastrophe. Moscow: LENAND/URSS, 2008 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • Interethnic Relations in Contemporary Tanzania. The 2005 Field Season of the Russian Multidisciplinary Expedition in the United Republic of Tanzania. Moscow: Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2007 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • History & Mathematics: Analyzing and Modeling Global Development. Moscow: URSS, 2006 <co-editor; in English>.
  • History & Mathematics: Historical Dynamics and Development of Complex Societies. Moscow: URSS, 2006 <co-editor; in English>.
  • History and Complexity Studies: Mathematical Modeling of Social Dynamics. Moscow: URSS, 2005 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • The Early State, Its Alternatives and Analogues. Volgograd: Uchitel, 2004 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • The Moscow School of Quantitative Cross-Cultural Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2003 (Cross-Cultural Research 37/1) <co-editor; in English>.
  • Alternatives of Social Evolution. Vladivostok: Dal'nauka, 2000 <co-editor; in English>.
  • Civilizational Models of Politogenesis. Moscow: Inst. for Afr. Stud. Press, 2000 <co-editor; in English>.
  • Alternatives Pathways to Civilization. Moscow: Logos, 2000 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • Sociobiology of Ritual and Group Identity: A Homology of Animal and Human Behaviour. Moscow: Russian State University for Humanities, 1998 <co-editor; in English>.
  • Alternativity of History. Donetsk: Donetskoe Otdelenie SAMI, 1992 <co-editor; in Russian>.
  • Archaic Society: Main Problems of Evolutionary Sociology. Moscow: Institut istorii SSSR AN SSSR, 1991 <co-editor; in Russian>.


  1. ^ Korotayev A., Malkov A., Khaltourina D. Introduction to Social Macrodynamics. Secular Cycles and Millennial Trends. Moscow: URSS, 2006.
  2. ^ See, e.g., Korotayev A., Malkov A., Khaltourina D. Introduction to Social Macrodynamics: Compact Macromodels of the World System Growth. Moscow: URSS Publishers, 2006; Korotayev A. V. A Compact Macromodel of World System Evolution // Journal of World-Systems Research 11/1 (2005): 79–93.
  3. ^ See, e.g., Korotayev A., Malkov A., Khaltourina D. Introduction to Social Macrodynamics: Compact Macromodels of the World System Growth. Moscow: URSS Publishers, 2006.
  4. ^ Korotayev A.V., Khaltourina D.A. Introduction to Social Macrodynamics: Secular Cycles and Millennial Trends in Africa. Moscow: URSS, 2006. ISBN 5484005604.
  5. ^ See, e.g., Korotayev A., Khaltourina D. Russian Demographic Crisis in Cross-National Perspective. Russia and Globalization: Identity, Security, and Society in an Era of Change. Ed. by D. W. Blum. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. P. 37-78.
  6. ^ Korotayev A., Malkov A., Khaltourina D. (2006). Introduction to Social Macrodynamics: Compact Macromodels of the World System Growth. Moscow: KomKniga. ISBN 5-484-00414-4
  7. ^ Korotayev A., Malkov A., Khaltourina D. (2006). Introduction to Social Macrodynamics: Compact Macromodels of the World System Growth. Moscow: KomKniga. ISBN 5-484-00414-4
  8. ^ Korotayev, Andrey V., & Tsirel, Sergey V.(2010). A Spectral Analysis of World GDP Dynamics: Kondratieff Waves, Kuznets Swings, Juglar and Kitchin Cycles in Global Economic Development, and the 2008–2009 Economic Crisis. Structure and Dynamics. Vol.4. #1. P.3-57.
  9. ^ Korotayev A. V. A Compact Macromodel of World System Evolution.Journal of World-Systems Research 11/1 (2005): 79–93; Korotayev A., Malkov A., Khaltourina D. (2006). Introduction to Social Macrodynamics: Compact Macromodels of the World System Growth. Moscow: KomKniga. ISBN 5-484-00414-4
  10. ^ See, e.g., Korotayev A. Form of marriage, sexual division of labor, and postmarital residence in cross-cultural perspective: A reconsideration. Journal of anthropological research ISSN 0091-7710. 2003, Vol. 59, No. 1, pp. 69-89, Korotayev A. Division of Labor by Gender and Postmarital Residence in Cross-Cultural Perspective: A Reconsideration. Cross-Cultural Research. 2003, Vol. 37, No. 4, pp.335-372 DOI: 10.1177/1069397103253685.
  11. ^ Korotayev A.V., Kazankov A.A. Regions Based on Social Structure: A Reconsideration // Current Anthropology 41/5 (2000): 668–690; Korotayev A., Berezkin Yu., Kozmin A., Arkhipova A.Return of the White Raven: Postdiluvial Reconnaissance Motif A2234.1.1 Reconsidered // Journal of American Folklore 119: 472–520.
  12. ^ See, e.g., "Midwest-Amazonian" Folklore-Mythological Parallels? // Acta Americana 14/1 (2006): 5–24.
  13. ^ See his Ancient Yemen, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1994; and his Pre-Islamic Yemen, Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz Verlag, 1995.
  14. ^ Korotayev A. V. Were There Any Truly Matrilineal Lineages in the Arabian Peninsula? Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 25 (1995): 83-98.
  15. ^ Korotayev A.V., Khaltourina D.A. Introduction to Social Macrodynamics: Secular Cycles and Millennial Trends in Africa. Moscow: URSS, 2006. ISBN 5484005604.
  16. ^ Origins of Islam: Political-Anthropological and Environmental Context. Korotayev A. Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. 53/3–4 (1999): 243–276) (with Vladimir Klimenko and Dmitry Proussakov)

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