nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2012‒12‒15
ten papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Binding Promises and Cooperation among Strangers By Gabriele Camera; Marco Casari; Maria Bigoni
  2. Strategies of Cooperation and Punishment among Students and Clerical Workers By Maria Bigoni; Gabriele Camera; Marco Casari
  3. Fostering Cooperation through the Enhancement of Own Vulnerability By Anita Kopayni-Peuker; Theo Offerman; Randolph Sloof
  4. Of Coordinators and Dictators: A Public Goods Experiment By Jürgen Fleiß; Gernot Lechner; Stefan Palan
  5. Cooperation makes beliefs: Weather variation and sources of social trust in Vietnam By Anh Duc Dang
  6. Phylogenetic Footprints in Organizational Behavior By Ulrich Witt; Georg Schwesinger
  7. Best-of-Three Contest Experiments: Strategic versus Psychological Momentum By Mago, Shakun; Sheremeta, Roman; Yates, Andrew
  8. On the Existence of Pareto Optimal Endogenous Matching By Dai, Darong
  9. Dynamic Origin of Evolution and Social Transformation By Andrei Kirilyuk
  10. Costly posturing: relative status, ceremonies and early child development in China: By Chen, Xi; Zhang, Xiaobo

  1. By: Gabriele Camera (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University and University of Basel); Marco Casari (University of Bologna); Maria Bigoni (University of Bologna)
    Abstract: In an experiment, a group of strangers was randomly divided in pairs to play a prisoners’ dilemma; this process was indefinitely repeated. Cooperation did not increase when subjects could send public messages amounting to binding promises of future play.
    Keywords: coordination, cheap-talk, deception, repeated game, social norms
    JEL: C90 C70 D80
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Maria Bigoni (University of Bologna); Gabriele Camera (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University and University of Basel); Marco Casari (University of Bologna)
    Abstract: We study the individual behavior of students and workers in an experiment where they repeatedly face the same cooperative task. The data show that clerical workers differ from college students in overall cooperation rates, strategy adoption and use of punishment opportunities. Students cooperate more than workers. Cooperation increases in both subject pools when a personal punishment option is available. Students are less likely than workers to adopt strategies of unconditional defection, and more likely to select strategies of conditional cooperation. Finally, students are more likely than workers to sanction uncooperative behavior by adopting decentralized punishment, and also personal punishment when available.
    Keywords: Non-standard subject pools, prisoner’s dilemma, peer punishment, artefactual field experiment, stranger matching
    JEL: C90 C70 D80
    Date: 2012
  3. By: Anita Kopayni-Peuker (University of Amsterdam); Theo Offerman (University of Amsterdam); Randolph Sloof (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: We consider the possibility that cooperation in a prisoner's dilemma is fostered by people's voluntarily enhancement of their own vulnerability. The vulnerability of a player determines the effectiveness of possible punishment by the other. In the "Gradual" mechanism, players may condition their incremental enhancements of their vulnerability on the other's choices. In the "Leap" mechanism, they unconditionally choose their vulnerability. In our experiment, subjects only learn to cooperate when either one of these mechanisms is allowed. In agreement with theory, subjects aiming for cooperation choose higher vulnerability levels in Gradual than in Leap, which maps into higher mutual cooperation levels.
    Keywords: D03; D81; D83
    Date: 2012–12–04
  4. By: Jürgen Fleiß (Institute of Statistics and Opterations Research, Karl-Franzens-University Graz); Gernot Lechner; Stefan Palan (Institute of Banking and Finance, Karl-Franzens-University Graz)
    Abstract: We experimentally investigate whether human subjects are willing to give up individual freedom in return for the benefits of improved coordination. We conduct a modified iterated public goods game in which subjects in each period first decide which of two groups to join. One group employs a voluntary contribution mechanism, the other group an allocator contribution mechanism. The setup of the allocator mechanism differs between two treatments. In the coordinator treatment the randomly selected allocator can set a uniform contribution for all group members including herself. In the dictator treatment the allocator can choose different contributions for herself and all other group members. We find that subjects willingly submit to authority in both treatments, even when competing with a voluntary contribution mechanism. The allocator groups achieve strikingly high contribution levels in both treatments.
    Date: 2012–11–30
  5. By: Anh Duc Dang
    Abstract: In this paper, I investigate the origins of social trust within Vietnam. By combining a unique contemporary survey of households with historical data on weather variation, I show that individuals who are heavily threatened by negative weather fluctuation exhibit more trust in neighbours and others within their close group. The evidence indicates that the effects of weather variation on social trust are transmitted through strengthening the cooperation among village peasants as they cope with risk and uncertainty. The results also show that households with higher proportion of agricultural income tend to trust people more. However, the increased strengthening of the village relationships does not erode family ties.
    JEL: O13 O53 Z13 Q54
    Date: 2012–11
  6. By: Ulrich Witt; Georg Schwesinger
    Abstract: An evolutionary tool kit is applied in this paper to explain how innate social behavior traits evolved in early human groups. These traits were adapted to the particular production requirements of the group in human phylogeny. They shaped the group members' attitudes towards contributing to the group's goals and towards other group members. We argue that these attitudes are still present in modern humans and leave their "phylogenetic footprints" also in present-day organizational life. We discuss the implications of this hypothesis for problems arising in firm organizations in relation to the coordination and motivation of organization members.
    Keywords: evolution, pre-adaptations, group selection, firm organization, organizational behavior, leadership
    JEL: B25 D03 D23 D74 M14
    Date: 2012–12–06
  7. By: Mago, Shakun; Sheremeta, Roman; Yates, Andrew
    Abstract: We conduct an experimental analysis of a best-of-three contest. Intermediate prizes lead to higher efforts, while increasing the role of luck (as opposed to effort) leads to lower efforts. Both intermediate prizes and luck reduce the probability of contest ending in two rounds. The patterns of players’ efforts and the probability that a contest ends in two rounds are consistent with ‘strategic momentum’, i.e., momentum generated due to strategic incentives inherent in the contest. We do not find evidence for ‘psychological momentum’, i.e., momentum which emerges when winning affects players’ confidence. Similar to previous studies of contests, we find significantly higher efforts than predicted and strong heterogeneity in effort between subjects.
    Keywords: best-of-three contest; experiments; strategic momentum; psychological momentum
    JEL: D72 C72 C91
    Date: 2012–12–02
  8. By: Dai, Darong
    Abstract: In the current paper, we study the asymmetric normal-form game between two heterogeneous groups of populations by employing the stochastic replicator dynamics driven by Lévy process. A new game equilibrium, i.e., the game equilibrium of a stochastic differential cooperative game on time, is derived by introducing optimal-stopping technique into evolutionary game theory, which combines with the Pareto optimal standard leads us to the existence of Pareto optimal endogenous matching.
    Keywords: Stochastic differential cooperative game on time; Endogenous matching; Fair matching; Pareto optimality; Adaptive learning
    JEL: C78 C70 C62
    Date: 2012–12–02
  9. By: Andrei Kirilyuk (Solid State Theory Department - Institute of Metal Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine)
    Abstract: We analyse the unreduced, nonperturbative dynamics of an arbitrary many-body interaction process with the help of the generalised effective potential method and reveal the well-specified universal origin of change (emergence), time and evolution in an a priori conservative, time-independent system. It appears together with the universal dynamic complexity definition, where this unified complexity conservation and transformation constitutes the essence of evolution. We then consider the detailed structure of this universal evolutionary process showing its step-wise, "punctuated" character, now provided with the exact mathematical description. Comparing the expected features of a revolutionary complexity transition near a step-like complexity upgrade with the currently observed behaviour of world's social and economic systems, we prove the necessity of complexity revolution towards the superior civilisation level of well-defined nature, the only alternative being an equally dramatic and irreversible degradation, irrespective of efforts applied to stop the crisis at the current totally saturated complexity level.
    Keywords: complexity; chaos; self-organisation; fractal; many-body problem; origin of time; revolution of complexity
    Date: 2012–07–03
  10. By: Chen, Xi; Zhang, Xiaobo
    Abstract: Participating in and presenting gifts at funerals, weddings, and other ceremonies held by fellow villagers have been regarded as social norms in Chinese villages for thousands of years. However, it is more burdensome for the poor to take part in these social occasions than for the rich. Because the poor often lack the necessary resources, they are forced to cut back on basic consumption, such as food, in order to afford a gift to attend the social festivals. For pregnant women in poor families, such a reduction in nutrition intake as a result of gift-giving can have a lasting detrimental health impact on their children.
    Keywords: Social norms, Social relations, food consumption, Stunting, malnutrition, Women,
    Date: 2012

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