nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2008‒03‒01
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Some Evolutionary Economics of Family Partnerships By Ted Bergstrom
  2. Rational Reasoning or Adaptive Behavior? Evidence from Two-Person Beauty Contest Games By Brit Grosskopf; Rosemarie Nagel
  3. Malthusian Population Dynamics: Theory and Evidence By Quamrul Ashraf; Oded Galor
  4. Rationality and Personality in a Restaurant Entry Game: Is there an Entrepreneurial Personality Type? By Ted Bergstrom; Jon Sonstelie

  1. By: Ted Bergstrom (University of California, Santa Barbara)
    Abstract: The article focuses on the economics of family partnerships. It states an allegory involving a prehistoric couple who split their responsibilities of gathering food and building a fire to create econometric models for family behavior. In theory, monogamous couples have exactly the same interest in their reproductive success, hence completely shared interest in their children. This is not the case in practice, as a variety of marital problems, divorce, and remarriage adversely affect the equation. The observed fact that an increase in a society's wealth tends to decrease family size runs counter to evolutionary biologic theory. No one theory in economics or biology has an adequate explanation for the reduction in family size as wealth increases. A variety of outside factors, notably the decline in child mortality and the change from an agricultural to an urban society, affect the models in both disciplines.
    Keywords: economics of family, evolution, fertility,
    Date: 2007–05–01
  2. By: Brit Grosskopf; Rosemarie Nagel
    Abstract: Many experiments have shown that human subjects do not necessarily behave in line with game theoretic assumptions and solution concepts. The reasons for this non-conformity are multiple. In this paper we study the argument whether a deviation from game theory is because subjects are rational, but doubt that others are rational as well, compared to the argument that subjects, in general, are boundedly rational themselves. To distinguish these two hypotheses, we study behavior in repeated 2-person and many-person Beauty- Contest-Games which are strategically different from one another. We analyze four different treatments and observe that convergence toward equilibrium is driven by learning through the information about the other player’s choice and adaptation rather than self-initiated rational reasoning.
    Keywords: Beauty contest, Guessing game, Bounded rationality, Weak dominance, Learning
    JEL: C7 C9
    Date: 2007–06
  3. By: Quamrul Ashraf; Oded Galor
    Abstract: This paper empirically tests the existence of Malthusian population dynamics in the pre-Industrial Revolution era. The theory suggests that, during the agricultural stage of development, resource surpluses beyond the maintenance of subsistence consumption were channeled primarily into population growth. In particular, societies naturally blessed by higher land productivity would have supported larger populations, given the level of socioeconomic development. Moreover, given land productivity, societies in more advanced stages of development, as reflected by their cumulative experience with the agricultural technological paradigm since the Neolithic Revolution, would have sustained higher population densities. Using exogenous cross-country variations in the natural productivity of land and in the timing of the Neolithic Revolution, the analysis demonstrates that, in accordance with the Malthusian theory, societies that were characterized by higher land productivity and an earlier onset of agriculture had a higher population density in the time period 1-1500 CE.
    Keywords: Growth; Technological Progress; Population Dynamics; Land Productivity; Neolithic Revolution; Malthusian Stagnation
    Date: 2008
  4. By: Ted Bergstrom (University of California, Santa Barbara); Jon Sonstelie (University of California, Santa Barbara)
    Abstract: Students in a large principles class participated in a market experiment in which they had opportunities to take entrepreneurial action. These students had also taken the Meyers-Briggs personality test. We explore the relation between personality characteristics and participation decisions.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship, personality test,
    Date: 2006–08–01

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