nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2007‒04‒28
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Punishment, Inequality and Emotions By David Masclet; Marie-Claire Villeval
  2. Collective Social Dynamics and Social Norms By Fent, Thomas
  3. Experimental Economics: Contributions, Recent Developments, and New Challenges By Marie-Claire Villeval
  4. Dumbing down rational players : Learning and teaching in an experimental game. By Antoine Terracol; Jonathan Vaksmann

  1. By: David Masclet (CREM - Centre de Recherche en Economie et Management - [CNRS : UMR6211] - [Université Rennes I][Université de Caen]); Marie-Claire Villeval (GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - [CNRS : UMR5824] - [Université Lumière - Lyon II] - [Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines])
    Abstract: Cooperation among people who are not related to each other is sustained by the availability of punishment devices which help enforce social norms (Fehr and Gächter, 2002). However, the rationale for costly punishment remains unclear. This paper reports the results of an experiment investigating inequality aversion and negative emotions as possible determinants of punishment. We compare two treatments of a public good game, one in which costly punishment reduces the immediate payoff inequality between the punisher and the target, and one in which it does not affect inequality. We show that while inequality-aversion prevents some subjects from punishing in the equal cost treatment, negative emotions are the primary motive for punishment. Results also indicate that the intensity of punishment increases with the level of inequality, and reduces earnings inequality over time.
    Keywords: cooperation ; experiment ; Free-Riding ; inequity aversion ; negative emotions
    Date: 2007–04–23
  2. By: Fent, Thomas
    Abstract: How individual behaviour is determined or at least influenced by social norms is one of the classic questions of social theory. We consider a norm as a rule guiding individual decisions concerning rituals, beliefs, traditions, and routines. Whenever coordinated behaviour is enforced without the help of an authority, this may be due to social norms. The individual being in the situation of taking a decision at the micro level is guided by social norms imposed at the macro level. The set of all individual decisions in a society generates the macro level behaviour of the system which may strengthen or weaken the existing social norms. Thus, the long run development of social norms is the result of collective dynamics within a social network. We use an agent based simulation model to investigate the emergence, stability, and replacement of social norms within a population of artificial agents. A social network connecting the agents serves to communicate the social norms and the actual behaviour among the agent population. The agents in the network possess two types of links connecting them with their ingroup and with their outgroup, respectively. Agents have the desire to be associated and accepted by the members of their ingroup and they want to be different from the members of their outgroup. Consequently, they derive a utility from adhering to the social norm of their ingroup and from deviating from the social norm of their outgroup. Agents may adopt their behaviour according to the norms given by their ingroup and outgroup. Thus, our model explains under what conditions social norms prevail within a subgroup of the society or even become global norms being respected within the whole population.
    Keywords: social norms; sociel networks; social interaction; collective social dynamics; ingroup; outgroup; agent based modelling
    JEL: C63 C61 Z13 D85
    Date: 2006–02–23
  3. By: Marie-Claire Villeval (GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - [CNRS : UMR5824] - [Université Lumière - Lyon II] - [Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines])
    Abstract: Although economics has long been considered as a non-experimental science, the development of experimental economics and behavioral economics is amazingly rapid and affects most fields of research. This paper first attempts at defining the main contributions of experiments to economics. It also identifies four main trends in the development of experimental research in economics. The third contribution of this paper is to identify the major theoretical and methodological challenges faced by behavioral and experimental economics.
    Keywords: behavioral economy ; Experimental economics ; field experiment ; quantitative methods
    Date: 2007–04–19
  4. By: Antoine Terracol (GREMARS et Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne); Jonathan Vaksmann (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: This paper uses experimental data to examine the existence of a teaching strategy among bounded rational players. If players realize that their own actions modify their opponent's beliefs and actions, they might play certain actions to this specific end ; and forego immediate payoffs if the expected payoffs if the expected payoff gain from a teaching strategy is high enough. Our results support the existence of a teaching strategy in several ways : First they show that players update their beliefs in order to take account of the reaction of their opponents to their own action. Second, we examine if players actually use a teaching strategy by playing an action that induces a poor immediate payoff but is likely to modify the opponent's behavior so that a preferable outcome might emerge in the future. We find strong evidence of such a strategy in the data and confirm this finding within a logistic model which suggests that the future expected payoff that could arise from a teaching strategy has indeed a significant impact on choice probabilities. Finally, we investigate the effective impact of a teaching strategy on achieved outcomes and find that efficient teachers can successfully use teaching in order to reach their favorite outcome at the expense of their opponents.
    Keywords: Game theory, teaching, beliefs, experiment.
    JEL: C72 C91 D83
    Date: 2007–03

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