nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2005‒03‒13
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
US Naval Academy, USA

  1. Learning to be prepared By Kets, Willemien; Voorneveld, Mark
  2. Norm Enforcement: Anger, Indignation or Reciprocity? By Jeffrey Carpenter; Peter Hans Matthews
  3. Cultural Variation in the Theory of the Firm By Donald W. Katzner;
  4. Individual action, institutions and social change : an approach in terms of convention By Bernard Enjolras

  1. By: Kets, Willemien (Department of Econometrics and Operations Research); Voorneveld, Mark (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: Behavioral economics provides several motivations for the common observation that agents appear somewhat unwilling to deviate from recent choices: salience, inertia, the formation of habits, the use of rules of thumb, or the locking in on certain modes of behavior due to learning by doing. This paper provides discrete-time adjustment processes for strategic games in which players display precisely such a bias towards recent choices. In addition, players choose best replies to beliefs supported by observed play in the recent past, in line with much of the literature on learning. These processes eventually settle down in the minimal prep sets of Voorneveld (2004, 2005).
    Keywords: adjustment; learning; minimal prep sets; behavioral bias; salience
    JEL: C72 D83
    Date: 2005–03–07
  2. By: Jeffrey Carpenter; Peter Hans Matthews
    Abstract: The enforcement of social norms often requires that unaffected third parties sanction offenders. Given the renewed interest of economists in norms, the literature on third party punishment is surprisingly thin, however. In this paper, we report on the results of an experiment designed to evaluate two distinct explanations for this phenomenon, indignation and group reciprocity. We find evidence in favor of both, with the caveat that the incidence of indignation-driven sanctions is perhaps smaller than earlier studies have hinted. Furthermore, our results suggest that second parties use sanctions to promote conformism while third parties intervene primarily to promote efficiency.
    Keywords: experiment, voluntary contribution mechanism, norm, third party punishment, reciprocity, indignation
    JEL: C79 C91 C92 D64 H41
    Date: 2005–03
  3. By: Donald W. Katzner (University of Massachusetts Amherst);
    Abstract: This paper presents a model of the firm that includes the possibility of firm and employee-on-the-job decision making based on alternatives to profit and utility maximization. Such alternatives are relevant and significant when explaining firm activity in cultural environments in which self interest is not considered to be a primary force driving human behavior. Three types of firms are defined and their properties compared: the Western firm, the Japanese firm, and the clan. The third is a combination of the first two. JEL Categories: D21, Z19
    Keywords: Culture, firm, decision making
    Date: 2005–03
  4. By: Bernard Enjolras (Institute for social research et MATISSE)
    Abstract: This anthology consists of a collection of articles that address two common questions : how institutions emerge from individual actions and how individual actions are shaped by institutions ? What unifies these contributions is the search of a theoretical explanation that overcomes the shortcomings of the rational choice explanations of social institutions. The approach developed here deals with two methodological problems that are pervasive in social sciences : that of the relationship between agency and structures and that of role of rationality and norms in explaining individual social behavior. Individuals are seen to be acting according to "conventions" that structure their interaction and that are cognitive and interpretative schemes that allow them to understand social reality and to give meaning to their actions. In addition individuals do not act either rationally or normatively but are conceived as acting within a "conventional" context that gives meaning to their action but also constrains them. They are supposed to be moved both by normative considerations and by self-interest that can conflict.
    Keywords: Convention, norm; rationality; collective action; agency; structure; social action; institution; governance; social change; community; nonprofit organizations; institutions
    JEL: C72 D70 H42 L3 L31 L32 L50
    Date: 2004–06

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