nep-cbe New Economics Papers
on Cognitive and Behavioural Economics
Issue of 2005‒01‒09
six papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Routines, genes and program-based behaviour By Jack Vromen
  2. Revealing Preferences for Fairness in Ultimatum Bargaining By James Andreoni; Marco Castillo; Ragan Petrie
  3. High status for all? Cheating the zero-sum mechanism of happiness. By Igor Galochkin
  4. Culture and institutions: economic development in the regions of Europe By Guido Tabellini
  5. Trust and Growth in the 1990s: A Robustness Analysis By Bengtsson, Mikael; Berggren, Niclas; Jordahl, Henrik
  6. Fact-Free Learning By Enriqueta Aragones; Itzhak Gilboa; Andrew Postlewaite; David Schmeidler

  1. By: Jack Vromen
    Abstract: It is argued that the ‘routines as genes’ analogy is misleading in several respects. Neither genes nor routines program behaviour, if this is taken to involve, first, that they determine behaviour and, second, that they do so in a way that excludes conscious, deliberate choice. On a proper understanding of ‘gene’ and ‘routine’, knowledge of genes and routines falls far short of predicting behaviour. Furthermore, conscious, deliberate choice is not ruled out when genes or routines are operating. There is a sense in which it can be maintained that genes are (or act as) programs and that individual behaviour is based on them. Such programs might display considerable stability, but their causal impact on behaviour is so remote and indirect that knowing them has little predictive power. It might be possible to identify programs also at levels of organization higher than that of genes that have greater predictive power, but such programs are likely to be unstable over time. On a non-inflationary understanding of ‘routines’, individual organization members can be viewed as programs on which the smooth functioning of routines is based. This is a far cry from the claim that routines determine firm behaviour, let alone from the claim that they are key success variables in explaining how well (in terms of profitability) firms perform.
    Keywords: Routines, Genes, Program-based behaviour, Proximate causes of individual and firm behaviour
    JEL: A12 B41 B52 D21 D23
    Date: 2004–12
  2. By: James Andreoni; Marco Castillo; Ragan Petrie
    Date: 2005–01–04
  3. By: Igor Galochkin (Moscow Institute of International Relations)
    Abstract: We state the following hypotheses: 1) Happiness depends on social rank – a term from primatology meaning the place in group hierarchy which determines mating chances, number of offspring and food share; this dependence explains the correlation between relative income and subjective well-being in humans. 2) There are mechanisms of cheating the ranks, which boost happiness of all. 3) Intelligence is a happiness- boosting tool, which should be more developed by low-rank individuals. We report the results of a series of queries, which support hypotheses 1) and 2) and leave 3) unclear.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, happiness, social rank, relative income, intelligence, zero-sum, utility, sexual success, leadership
    JEL: D1 D2 D3 D4
    Date: 2005–01–03
  4. By: Guido Tabellini
    Date: 2005–01–04
  5. By: Bengtsson, Mikael (Department of Economics); Berggren, Niclas (The Ratio Institute); Jordahl, Henrik (Department of Economics)
    Abstract: We conduct an extensive robustness analysis of the relationship between trust and growth for a later time period (the 1990s) and with a bigger sample (63 countries) than previous studies. In addition to robustness tests that focus on model uncertainty, we use Least Trimmed Squares, a robust estimation technique, to identify outliers and investigate how they affect the results. We find that the trust-growth relationship is less robust with respect to empirical specification and to countries in the sample than previously claimed, and that outliers affect the results. Nevertheless trust seems quite important compared with many other growth-regression variables.
    Keywords: trust; growth; robustness analysis; extreme bounds analysis; social capital; least trimmed squares; outliers
    JEL: O40 Z13
    Date: 2005–01–03
  6. By: Enriqueta Aragones (Autonomous University of Barcelona - Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC)); Itzhak Gilboa (Eitan Berglas School of Economics, Tel Aviv University); Andrew Postlewaite (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania); David Schmeidler (Eitan Berglas School of Economics, Tel Aviv University)
    Abstract: People may be surprised by noticing certain regularities that hold in existing knowledge they have had for some time. That is, they may learn without getting new factual information. We argue that this can be partly explained by computational complexity. We show that, given a knowledge base, finding a small set of variables that obtain a certain value of R2 is computationally hard, in the sense that this term is used in computer science. We discuss some of the implications of this result and of fact-free learning in general.
    Keywords: Learning, Behavioral Economics
    JEL: D11
    Date: 2003–10–01

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