nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2007‒03‒31
three papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
US Naval Academy, USA

  1. Rationalizing the Irrational. The Principle of Relative Maximization from Sociobiology to Economics and Its Implications for Ethics By Boari, Mircea
  2. Smoking and Social Interaction By Panu Poutvaara; Lars-H. R. Siemers
  3. Better-Reply Strategies with Bounded Recall By Andriy Zapechelnyuk

  1. By: Boari, Mircea (ESSEC Business School)
    Abstract: Starting with the concept of “rational maximizing individual”, a meta-construct with foundational value in economics and, in general, in human sciences, the paper delineates the territory of an ethics of rationality. It does this by taking fulcrum in findings from evolutionary theory, in particular those regarding spiteful behavior. The paper formulates the principle of “differential fitness maximization”, as expression of relative maximization of fitness and derives its consequences, among which, a core set of normative propositions grounding the said ethics. Thus, the paper strengthens the backbone of the Western philosophical tradition which, in essence, always associated ethical conduct with reason and individualism.
    Keywords: Evolutionary Ethics; Fitness; Normative Ethics; Rational Maximization; Spite
    JEL: A19 B52 C73 D01 P00 Z19
    Date: 2007–02
  2. By: Panu Poutvaara (University of Helsinki and IZA); Lars-H. R. Siemers (RWI Essen)
    Abstract: We study the social interaction of non-smokers and smokers as a sequential game, incorporating insights from social psychology and experimental economics into an economic model. Social norms affect human behavior such that non-smokers do not ask smokers to stop smoking and stay with them, even though disutility from smoking exceeds utility from social interaction. Overall, smoking is unduly often accepted when accommodating smoking is the social norm. The introduction of smoking and non-smoking areas does not overcome this specific inefficiency. We conclude that smoking bans may represent a required (secondbest) policy.
    Keywords: smoking policy, social norms, guilt aversion, deviant behavior, social interaction
    JEL: I18 D01 D11
    Date: 2007–03
  3. By: Andriy Zapechelnyuk
    Abstract: A decision maker (an agent) is engaged in a repeated interaction with Nature. The objective of the agent is to guarantee to himself the long-run average payoff as large as the best-reply payoff to Nature?s empirical distribution of play, no matter what Nature does. An agent with perfect recall can achieve this objective by a simple better-reply strategy. In this paper we demonstrate that the relationship between perfect recall and bounded recall is not straightforward: An agent with bounded recall may fail to achieve this objective, no matter how long recall he has and no matter what better-reply strategy he employs.
    Keywords: Better-Reply Strategies; Regret; Bounded Recall; Fictitious Play; Approachability
    JEL: C73 D81 D83
    Date: 2007–03

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