nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2010‒07‒03
ten papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Coordination and Culture By Jean-Paul Carvalho
  2. A Salience Theory of Choice Errors By Manzini, Paola; Mariotti, Marco
  3. Unraveling Fairness in Simple Games? The Role of Empathy and Theory of Mind By Florian Artinger; Fillipos Exadaktylos; Lauri Sääksvuori; Hannes Koppel
  4. Recent Advances in the Economics of Individual Subjective Well-Being By Bruno S. Frey; Alois Stutzer
  5. Veiling By Jean-Paul Carvalho
  6. Preferencias sociales en la asignación de recursos a desplazados y ex combatientes - Una aproximación al caso colombiano desde la Economía Experimenta By Stybaliz Castellanos Giovanini
  7. Bayesian social learning, conformity, and stubbornness: evidence from the AP top 25 By Daniel F. Stone; Basit Zafar
  8. An Experiment on Intercultural Tacit Coordination - Preliminary Report By Abitbol, Pablo
  9. Four Centuries of British Economic Growth: The Roles of Technology and Population By Madsen, Jakob; Ang, James; Banerjee, Rajabrata
  10. Social Communication and Discrimination: A Video Experiment By Ben Greiner; Werner Güth; Ro'i Zultan

  1. By: Jean-Paul Carvalho
    Abstract: Culture constrains individual choice by making certain behaviour taboo. We propose an evolutionary model in which members of different groups attempt to coordinate over time. We show that cultural constraints can lead to a permanent break down in coordination between groups, even when coordination is attainable and Pareto-efficient. Hence restrictive cultures make coordination with out-group members more difficult. By limiting a person’s options, however, highly restrictive cultures act as a strategic commitment, forcing out-group members to conform to in-group norms if they want to coordinate. In this way, cultural constraints on behaviour may lead to higher expected welfare. When people rationally choose their culture, we demonstrate that restrictive and permissive cultures can co-exist in the long run.
    Keywords: Coordination games, Culture, Taboos, Commitments, Cultural Evolution
    JEL: C72 C73 Z1
    Date: 2010
  2. By: Manzini, Paola (University of St. Andrews); Mariotti, Marco (University of St. Andrews)
    Abstract: We study a psychologically based foundation for choice errors. The decision maker applies a preference ranking after forming a 'consideration set' prior to choosing an alternative. Membership of the consideration set is determined both by the alternative specific salience and by the rationality of the agent (his general propensity to consider all alternatives). The model turns out to include a logit formulation as a special case. In general, it has a rich set of implications both for exogenous parameters and for a situation in which alternatives can affect their own salience (salience games). Such implications are relevant to assess the link between 'revealed' preferences and 'true' preferences: for example, less rational agents may paradoxically express their preference through choice more truthfully than more rational agents.
    Keywords: discrete choice, random utility, logit model, consideration sets, bounded rationality
    JEL: D0
    Date: 2010–06
  3. By: Florian Artinger (Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin); Fillipos Exadaktylos (University of Granada); Lauri Sääksvuori (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena); Hannes Koppel (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)
    Abstract: Economists have been theorizing that other-regarding preferences influence decision making. Yet, what are the corresponding psychological mechanisms that inform these preferences in laboratory games? Empathy and Theory of Mind (ToM) are dispositions considered to be essential in social interaction. We investigate the connection between an individual's preference type and her disposition to engage in empathy and ToM in neutrally framed Dictator and Ultimatum Game. For that purpose, cognitive and emotional psychometric scales are applied to infer the dispositions of each subject. We find that a disposition for empathy does not influence the behavior in the games. ToM positively correlates with offers in the Dictator Game. Integral to ToM are beliefs about others. Both, other-regarding and selfish types, show a strong correlation between what they belief others do and their own action. These results indicate that expectations about the prevalent social norm might be central in informing behavior in one-shot games.
    Keywords: Altruism, Inequality, Empathy, Theory of Mind, Behavioral Economics
    JEL: C91 C72 D01 D64
    Date: 2010–06–23
  4. By: Bruno S. Frey; Alois Stutzer (University of Basel)
    Abstract: Over the last decades, empirical research on subjective well-being in the social<br />sciences has provided a major new stimulus to the discourse on individual happiness.<br />Recently this research has also been linked to economics where reported subjective wellbeing<br />is often taken as a proxy measure for individual welfare. In our review, we intend to<br />provide an evaluation of where the economic research on happiness stands and of three<br />directions it might develop. First, it offers new ways for testing the basic assumptions of the<br />economic approach and for going about a new understanding of utility. Second, it provides a<br />new possibility for the complementary testing of theories across fields in economics. Third,<br />we inquire how the insights gained from the study of individual happiness in economics affect<br />public policy.<br />Keywords: Economics, happiness, life satisfaction, survey data, income, public goods,<br />unemployment<br />JEL Classifications: A10, D60, H41, I31
    Date: 2010
  5. By: Jean-Paul Carvalho
    Abstract: Veiling among Muslim women is modelled as a form of cultural resistance which inhibits the transmission of secular values. Individuals care about opinions of their community members and use veiling to influence these options. Our theory predicts that veiling is highest when individuals from highly religious communities interact in highly secular environments. This accounts for puzzling features of the new veiling movement since the 1970s. Though veiling helps retain religious values, we show taht bans on veiling aimed at assimilation can be counterproductive. By inducing religious types to segregate in local communities, bans on veiling can lead to increased religiosity.
    Keywords: Veil, Islamic revival, Signalling, Identity, Economics of religion
    JEL: C72 C73 Z1
    Date: 2010
  6. By: Stybaliz Castellanos Giovanini
    Abstract: This paper studies the social preferences of individuals in the allocation and distribution of resources among displaced populations and former combatants of outlaw groups in Colombia. Several tests are undertaken with the theoretical apparatus of Experimental Economics. The behavior of different individuals is examined on the basis of the new behavioral hypotheses of economic theory. The research shows the existence of social preferences among individuals, who take into account the utility or benefit of others in their preference systems (or in their objective function). Upon revealing their social preferences, individuals show that they are willing to accept the violation of a social distributive norm that allocates resources, and also that they are willing to compensate those individuals who consider that they are less well-off because of the inequality in the resulting allocation. Este trabajo estudia las preferencias sociales de los individuos en la asignación y distribución de recursos entre las poblaciones de desplazados y ex combatientes de grupos al margen de la ley en Colombia; para tal efecto se desarrollan varios experimentos con el enfoque de la Economía Experimental, y se analiza el comportamiento de distintos individuos con base en los nuevos argumentos comportamentales de la teoría económica. La investigación confirma la existencia de preferencias sociales en los individuos cuando consideran la utilidad o beneficio de los otros en su sistema de preferencias (o en su función objetivo). Al revelar sus preferencias sociales, los individuos muestran que están dispuestos a sancionar la violación de una norma social distributiva de la asignación de recursos, y también a compensar a los que consideran perjudicados por la inequidad en la asignación resultante.
    Date: 2009–11–14
  7. By: Daniel F. Stone; Basit Zafar
    Abstract: The recent nonexperimental literature on social learning focuses on showing that observational learning exists, that is, individuals do indeed draw inferences by observing the actions of others. We take this literature a step further by analyzing whether individuals are Bayesian social learners. We use data from the Associated Press (AP) U.S. College Football Poll, a weekly subjective ranking of the top twenty-five teams. The voters' aggregate rankings are available each week prior to when voters have to update their individual rankings, so voters can potentially learn from their peers. We find that peer rankings: 1) are informative, as conditioning on them improves the accuracy of our estimated Bayesian posterior rankings in a nontrivial way, and 2) influence the way voters adjust their rankings, but the influence is less than the Bayesian amount. Voters' revisions are closer to Bayesian when the ranked team loses as compared to when it wins, which we attribute to losses being less ambiguous and more salient signals. We find evidence of significant voter heterogeneity, and that voters are less responsive to peer rankings after they have been on the poll a few years. We interpret the data to imply that reputation motives cause voters to "conform," but not enough to overcome the overall tendency to underreact to social information, that is, to be "stubborn."
    Keywords: Bayesian statistical decision theory ; Human behavior ; Social choice
    Date: 2010
  8. By: Abitbol, Pablo
    Abstract: This report presents the results of a replication, with 199 culturally-diverse subjects, of Thomas Schelling’s (1957) experiments on tacit coordination. Section 1 introduces the concept of focal point equilibrium selection in tacit one-shot symmetric pure coordination games, as presented by Schelling in his classic article; it then traces its subsequent exploration through experimental research, shows how it has been explained, particularly in terms of culture, and relates that kind of explanation to the experimental and null hypotheses of the present study and its associated predictions. Section 2 describes the design of the intercultural tacit coordination experiment, and section 3 the results. Finally, section 4 presents a very preliminary discussion of the implications of the experiment’s results in terms of the cultural explanation of focal point equilibrium selection.
    Keywords: Culture; cultural diversity; coordination; game theory; Thomas Schelling
    JEL: C72
    Date: 2009–10
  9. By: Madsen, Jakob; Ang, James; Banerjee, Rajabrata
    Abstract: Using long historical data for Britain over the period 1620-2006, this paper seeks to explain the importance of innovative activity, population growth and other factors in inducing the transition from the Malthusian trap to the post-Malthusian growth regime. Furthermore, the paper tests the ability of two competing second-generation endogenous growth models to account for the British growth experience. The results suggest that innovative activity was an important force in shaping the Industrial Revolution and that the British growth experience is consistent with Schumpeterian growth theory.
    Keywords: endogenous growth; British Industrial Revolution
    JEL: O30 O40
    Date: 2010
  10. By: Ben Greiner (University of New South Wales, School of Economics, Sydney, Australia); Werner Güth (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group); Ro'i Zultan (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group)
    Abstract: We report on an experiment using video technology to manipulate pre-play communication protocols in the lab and to study purely social effects of communication on donations and discrimination between potential receivers. The experimental design eliminates strategic factors by allowing two receivers to unilaterally communicate with an anonymous dictator before the latter decides on her gifts. Through the use of three communication setups (none, audio, and audio-visual) we show and analyze the existence of purely social effects of communication. We find that a silent channel leads to discrimination between potential receivers based on impression formation, but does not affect average levels of donations. When the auditory channel is added, average donations increase. The social processes invoked are heterogeneous and communicator- specific but not unsystematic.
    Keywords: bargaining, communication, discrimination, n-person dictator game, video experiment
    JEL: C72 C91 D64
    Date: 2010–06–23

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