nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2008‒04‒21
three papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Political Entrepreneurship and Institutional Change: an Evolutionary Approach By Hederer, Christian
  2. Learning by Doing vs. Learning from Others in a Principal-Agent Model By Jasmina Arifovic; Alexander Karaivanov
  3. Do Markets Promote Prosocial Behavior? Evidence from the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample. By E. Anthon Eff; Malcolm M. Dow

  1. By: Hederer, Christian
    Abstract: The paper is a contribution to the theory of institutional change. Using a process-based, evolutionary framework, a comparative analysis of economic and political entrepreneurship is provided and implications are derived for the role of political entrepreneurship, and the element of agency in general, for the evolution of formal institutions and institutional innovation.
    Keywords: Institutional change; entrepreneurship; market process theory; evolutionary approach
    JEL: D70 B52 P48
    Date: 2007–09
  2. By: Jasmina Arifovic (Simon Fraser University); Alexander Karaivanov (Simon Fraser University)
    Abstract: We introduce learning in a principal-agent model of stochastic output sharing under moral hazard. Without knowing the agents' preferences and technology the principal tries to learn the optimal agency contract. We implement two learning paradigms - social (learning from others) and individual (learning by doing). We use a social evolutionary learning algorithm (SEL) to represent social learning. Within the individual learning paradigm, we investigate the performance of reinforcement learning (RL), experience-weighted attraction learning (EWA), and individual evolutionary learning (IEL). Overall, our results show that learning in the principal-agent environment is very difficult. This is due to three main reasons: (1) the stochastic environment, (2) a discontinuity in the payoff space in a neighborhood of the optimal contract due to the participation constraint and (3) incorrect evaluation of foregone payoffs in the sequential game principal-agent setting. The first two factors apply to all learning algorithms we study while the third is the main contributor for the failure of the EWA and IEL models. Social learning (SEL), especially combined with selective replication, is much more successful in achieving convergence to the optimal contract than the canonical versions of individual learning from the literature. A modified version of the IEL algorithm using realized payoff evaluation performs better than the other individual learning models; however, it still falls short of the social learning's ability to converge to the optimal contract.
    Keywords: learning, principal-agent model, moral hazard
    JEL: D83 D86 C63
    Date: 2007–11
  3. By: E. Anthon Eff; Malcolm M. Dow
    Abstract: Recent experimental games conducted by ethnographers (Henrich et al. 2004) have shown that groups with higher levels of market integration exhibit higher levels of prosocial behavior. In order to see whether these results are confirmed in a broader ethnographic sample, this paper draws from the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample variables measuring the degree to which a culture seeks to inculcate generosity, honesty, and trust. Using these as dependent variables, models are developed where market-related variables are among the independent variables. The paper uses the methodology developed by Dow (2007) to correct for Galton’s problem, and uses multiple imputation to deal with the problem of missing data. The results fail to confirm a systematic association between generalized prosocial behavior and market integration.
    Keywords: prosocial behavior, multiple imputation, market integration, Galton’s problem
    JEL: R12 F16
    Date: 2008–04

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