nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2012‒11‒17
twelve papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Noblesse Oblige? Moral Identity and Prosocial Behavior in the Face of Selfishness By Dessi, Roberta; Monin, Benoît
  2. Social preferences in the online laboratory : A randomized experiment By Jérôme Hergueux; Nicolas Jacquemet
  3. Who are the Voluntary Leaders? Experimental Evidence from a Sequential Contribution Game By Raphaële Préget; Phu Nguyen-Van; Marc Willinger
  4. Trust and Cheating By Butler, Jeff; Giuliano, Paola; Guiso, Luigi
  5. On the Nature of Reciprocity: Evidence from the Ultimatum Reciprocity Measure By Andreas Nicklisch; Irenaeus Wolff
  6. Validating an Ultra-Short Survey Measure of Patience By Thomas Vischer; Thomas Dohmen; Armin Falk; David Huffman; Jürgen Schupp; Uwe Sunde; Gert G. Wagner
  7. Card Games and Financial Crises By Leonardo Becchetti; Maurizio Fiaschetti; Giancarlo Marini
  8. Cognitive Resource Depletion, Choice Consistency, and Risk Preferences By Marco Castillo; David L. Dickinson; Ragan Petrie
  9. Risk, Entitlements and Fairness Bias: Explaining Preferences for Redistribution in Multi-person Setting By Mitesh Kataria; Natalia Montinari
  10. Security of property as a public good: Institutions, socio-political environment and experimental behavior in five countries By Francisco Campos-Ortiz; Louis Putterman; T.K. Ahn; Loukas Balafoutas; Mongoljin Batsaikhan; Matthias Sutter
  11. Implications of insights from behavioral economics for macroeconomic models By Steinar Holden
  12. Schumpeter and Georgescu-Roegen on the Foundations of an Evolutionary Analysis By Christoph Heinzel

  1. By: Dessi, Roberta (IDEI, Toulouse School of Economics); Monin, Benoît (Stanford University)
    Abstract: What makes individuals conform or diverge after observing prosocial or selfish behavior by others? We study experimentally how social comparison (observing a peer’s behavior) interacts with identity motives for cooperation. Participants play two games. We increase the strength of the identity motive by inducing subjects in a treatment condition to infer their identity from behavior in the first game. Cooperators who observe a peer defect donate 28% more to their unknown partner in the second game in the treatment than in the control group. Our results are consistent with the predictions of Bénabou and Tirole (2011), and show that the "suckerto- saint effect" identified by Jordan and Monin (2008) can have important behavioral consequences.
    Keywords: ,
    JEL: A1 A12 D1 D3 D64 Z1
    Date: 2012–11
  2. By: Jérôme Hergueux (LaRGE - Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie, Sciences Po - Sciences Po); Nicolas Jacquemet (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, BETA - Bureau d'économie théorique et appliquée - CNRS : UMR7522 - Université de Strasbourg - Université Nancy II, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Internet is a very attractive technology for experiments implementation, both in order to reach more diverse and larger samples and as a field of economic research in its own right. This paper reports on an experiment performed both online and in the laboratory, designed so as to strengthen the internal validity of decisions elicited over the Internet. We use the same subject pool, the same monetary stakes and the same decision interface, and randomly assign two group of subjects between the Internet and a traditional University laboratory to compare behavior in a set of social preferences games. This comparison concludes in favor of the reliability of behaviors elicited through the Internet. Our behavioral results contradict the predictions of social distance theory, as we find that subjects allocated to the Internet treatment behave as if they were more altruistic, more trusting, more trustworthy and less risk averse than laboratory subjects. Those findings have practical importance for the growing community of researchers interested in using the Internet as a vehicle for social experiments and bear interesting methodological lessons for social scientists interested in using experiments to research the Internet as a field.
    Keywords: Social experiment, field experiment, internet, methodology, randomized assignment.
    Date: 2012–10
  3. By: Raphaële Préget; Phu Nguyen-Van; Marc Willinger
    Abstract: We show that the preference to act as a leader rather than as a follower is related to subjects’ behavioral type. We rely on the methodology proposed by Fischbacher et al. (2001) and Fischbacher and Gächter (2010) in order to identify subjects’ behavioral types. We then link the likelihood to act as a leader in a repeated public goods game to the elicited behavioral types. The leader in a group is defined as the subject who voluntarily decides in the first place about his contribution. The leader’s contribution is then reported publicly to the remaining group members who are requested to take their contribution decisions simultaneously. Our main findings are that leaders emerge in almost all rounds and that conditional cooperators are more likely to act as leaders compared to free riders. We also find that voluntary leaders, irrespective of their behavioral type, contribute more than the followers. However leadership does not prevent the decay that is commonly observed in linear public goods experiments.
    Date: 2012–11
  4. By: Butler, Jeff; Giuliano, Paola; Guiso, Luigi
    Abstract: When we take a cab we may feel cheated if the driver takes an unnecessarily long route despite the lack of a contract or promise to take the shortest possible path. Is our decision to take the cab affected by our belief that we may end up feeling cheated? Is the behavior of the driver affected by his beliefs about what we consider cheating? We address these questions in the context of a trust game by asking participants directly about their notions of cheating. We find that: i) both parties to a trust exchange have implicit notions of what constitutes cheating even in a context without promises or messages; ii) these notions are not unique - the vast majority of senders would feel cheated by a negative return on their trust/investment, whereas a sizable minority defines cheating according to an equal split rule; iii) these implicit notions affect the behavior of both sides to the exchange in terms of whether to trust or cheat and to what extent. Finally, we show that individuals’ notions of what constitutes cheating can be traced back to two classes of values instilled by parents: cooperative and competitive. The first class of values tends to soften the notion while the other tightens it.
    Keywords: cheating; culture; social norms; Trust; trustworthiness
    JEL: A1 A12 D1 O15 Z1
    Date: 2012–11
  5. By: Andreas Nicklisch; Irenaeus Wolff
    Abstract: We experimentally show that current models of reciprocity are incomplete in a systematic way using a new variant of the ultimatum game that provides second-movers with a marginal-cost-free punishment option. For a substantial proportion of the population, the degree of first-mover unkindness determines the severity of punishment actions even when marginal costs are absent. The proportion of these participants strongly depends on a treatment variation: higher fixed costs of punishment more frequently lead to extreme responses. The fractions of purely selfish and inequity-averse participants are small and stable. Among the variety of reciprocity models, only one accommodates (rather than predicts) parts of our findings. We discuss ways of incorporating our findings into the existing models.
    Keywords: Distributional fairness, experiments, intention-based fairness, reciprocity, ultimatum bargaining
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Thomas Vischer; Thomas Dohmen; Armin Falk; David Huffman; Jürgen Schupp; Uwe Sunde; Gert G. Wagner
    Abstract: This study presents results of the validation of an ultra-short survey measure of patience included in the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Survey responses predict intertemporal choice behavior in incentive-compatible decisions in a representative sample of the German adult population.
    Keywords: Time preferences, discounting, validation of survey measures
    JEL: D01 D03 D91 C91
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Leonardo Becchetti (Department of Economics and Law, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Maurizio Fiaschetti (Department of Economics and Law, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Giancarlo Marini (Department of Economics and Law, University of Rome "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: There may be a nexus between card games and financial markets. Akerlof and Shiller (2010) wonder whether the decline in the number of bridge players and the growth in the number of poker players may have led to the current bad financial traders’ practices which are responsible for the global financial crisis. The reason is that bridge is a cooperative game generally played without monetary payoffs, while poker is an individualistic game with monetary payoffs. We simulate trust and dictator game experiments on a large sample of affiliated bridge and poker players. We find that bridge players make more polarized choices and send significantly more than poker players as trustors, a result which is reinforced when corrected for risk aversion and dictator giving. Overall, our findings do not reject the hypothesis that bridge practice is associated with a relatively higher disposition to team reasoning and strategic altruism.
    Keywords: trust games, financial crisis, poker , bridge
    JEL: C72 C91 A13
    Date: 2012–11–09
  8. By: Marco Castillo; David L. Dickinson; Ragan Petrie
    Abstract: We investigate the consistency and stability of individual risk preferences by slightly manipulating the cognitive resources of subjects through sleepiness. Participants are recruited and randomly assigned to an experiment session at a preferred time of day relative to their diurnal preference (circadian matched) or at a non-preferred time of day (circadian mismatched). For the decision task, subjects and are asked to choose how much to allocate between two state-dependent assets (using the Choi et al., 2007, design). We have two main findings. First, the consistency of behavior for circadian matched and mismatched subjects is statistically the same. This is true whether it is (nonparametrically) defined as consistency with GARP, payoff dominance, expected utility, disappointment aversion or cumulative prospect theory. Second, while our cognitive resource manipulation yields no difference in consistency of behavior, it results in an increased tendency to take risk. Our experiment confirms theoretical predictions that preferences are consistent yet state-dependent. Key Words:
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Mitesh Kataria (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena); Natalia Montinari (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena)
    Abstract: Researchers frequently studied the casual relationships of other-regarding preferences by applying experimental methods in bilateral settings (e.g., dictator game and ultimatum game). We use a framed experiment on taxes to study preferences for redistribution in a multi-person setting. We find presence of heterogeneous preferences with a substantial share of tax rate choices in line with both payoff maximization and other-regarding preferences. Notably, our data is not consistent with inequality aversion but points to other forms of other-regarding preferences, as fairness and altruism. By manipulating how subjects are assigned to a given level of pre-tax income, we vary the individual entitlements. We find a difference in the willingness to redistribute income when comparing the treatment where pre-tax income is assigned by relative performance in a production task (a general knowledge quiz) to the treatment where pre-tax income is assigned by luck. We do not find any significant difference in comparison to the intermediate treatment where pre-tax income is assigned by a combination of luck and performance. The perception of a "fair" tax is different depending on whether subjects' pre-tax income is below or above average, which is in line with a fairness bias. Finally, subjects not knowing whether their pre-tax income is below or above the average when choosing the tax rate behave as if they were more other-regarding.
    Keywords: Redistribution, Entitlements, Fairness Bias, Risk, Framed Tax Experiment
    JEL: D6 C9
    Date: 2012–11–12
  10. By: Francisco Campos-Ortiz; Louis Putterman; T.K. Ahn; Loukas Balafoutas; Mongoljin Batsaikhan; Matthias Sutter
    Abstract: We study experimentally the protection of property in five widely distinct countries-Austria, Mexico, Mongolia, South Korea and the United States. Our main results are that the security of property varies with experimental institutions, and that our subject pools exhibit significantly different behaviors that correlate with country-level property security, trust and quality of government. Subjects from countries with higher levels of trust or perceptions of safety are more prone to abstain initially from theft and devote more resources to production, and subjects from countries with higher quality political institutions are more supportive of protecting property through compulsory taxation. This highlights the relevance of socio-political factors in determining countries' success in addressing collective action problems including safeguarding property rights.
    Keywords: Property Rights, Theft, Efficiency, Experiment, Socio-Political Factors
    JEL: C91 C92 D03 H41 P14
    Date: 2012–11
  11. By: Steinar Holden (Department of Economics, University of Oslo and Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway))
    Abstract: The last 20 years, the importance of a number of behavioral features has been widely accepted within economics, and they are now regularly included in standard macro models. Where has this development led us? I argue that the insights from behavioral economics have led to important progress in our understanding of macroeconomic phenomena. One of the most important is the effect of fairness considerations on wages and employment relationships. Another important insight is that most or all individuals are affected by various behavioral features, which should be taken into account in the design of saving plans and pension schemes. A third insight is that plausible macro models provide large scope for important effects of sentiments and psychological factors. Future research should follow different routes, like incorporating behavioral features in standard models, improving estimated empirical models, and learning from case studies and historical episodes.
    Keywords: Behavioral macroeconomics
    JEL: E2 E3 D8
    Date: 2012–11–06
  12. By: Christoph Heinzel
    Abstract: Qualitative change is widely recognized as a defining feature of evolution. Schumpeter and Georgescu-Roegen put it at the center of their methodological reasoning. I revisit important contributions of these two authors, paying attention to the immediate relationship of the major traits and treated issues between their works. With reference to qualitative change, their joint approach provides answers as to (i) why an evolutionary analysis has to necessarily apply a varied less formal set of methods as compared to modern static and dynamic analysis, (ii) why an evolutionary analysis is a necessary component of economic analysis, and (iii) how it can be seen as complementary to modern statics and dynamics. They argued for methodogical pluralism, where the choice of methods shall derive from close observation of the subject matter under scrutiny. Georgescu-Roegen's reasoning shows the necessity of interdisciplinary contributions and the interrelation of economic activity and environmental impact and constraints, putting environmental issues immediately on the evolutionary economics agenda. The paper provides a new ground for evaluating Georgescu-Roegen's own and their joint contribution to modern research.
    Keywords: Schumpeter, Georgescu-Roegen, qualitative change, evolution, evolutionary methodology
    JEL: B25 B31 B41 O10
    Date: 2012

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