nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2013‒06‒16
nine papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Tangible Temptation in the Social Dilemma: Cash, cooperation, and self-control By Myrseth, Kristian Ove R.; Riener, Gerhard; Wollbrant, Conny
  2. Institutional Quality, Culture, and Norms of Cooperation: Evidence from a Behavioral Field Experiment By Alessandra Cassar; Giovanna d'Adda; Pauline Grosjean
  3. A reproduction and replication of Engel’s meta-study of dictator game experiments. By Le Zhang; Andreas Ortmann
  4. On the Interpretation of Giving, Taking, and Destruction in Dictator Games and Joy-of-Destruction Games. By Le Zhang; Andreas Ortmann
  6. Social Class and Un(ethical) Behavior: A Framework, with Evidence from a Large Population Sample By Trautmann, Stefan T.; van de Kuilen, Gijs; Zeckhauser, Richard J.
  7. Evolutionary determinants of war By Konrad, Kai A.; Morath, Florian
  8. Preferences for Redistribution around the World By Neher, Frank
  9. Religious diversity, intolerance and civil conflict By Joseph Flavian Gomes

  1. By: Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. (ESMT European School of Management and Technology); Riener, Gerhard (DICE, University of Düsseldorf); Wollbrant, Conny (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: The social dilemma may contain, within the individual, a self-control conflict between urges to act selfishly and better judgment to cooperate. Examining the argument from the perspective of temptation, we pair the public good game with treatments that vary the degree to which money is abstract (merely numbers on-screen) or tangible (tokens or cash). We also include psychometric measures of self-control and impulsivity. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find in the treatments that render money more tangible a stronger positive association between cooperation and self-control—and a stronger negative association between cooperation and impulsivity. Our results shed light on the conditions under which self-control matters for cooperation.
    Keywords: Self-control; Pro-social behavior; Public good experiment; Temptation
    JEL: D01 D03 D64 D70
    Date: 2013–06–07
  2. By: Alessandra Cassar (University of San Francisco); Giovanna d'Adda (University opf Birmingham); Pauline Grosjean (School of Economics, the University of New South Wales)
    Abstract: We design an experiment to examine the causal effect of legal institutional quality on informal norms of cooperation, and study the interaction of institutions and culture in sustaining economic exchange. 346 subjects in Italy and Kosovo play a market game under different and randomly allocated institutional treatments, which generate different incentives to behave honestly, preceded and followed by a non-contractible and non-enforceable trust game. Significant increases in individual trust and trustworthiness follow exposure to ‘better’ institutions. A reduction by one percentage point in the probability of facing a dishonest partner in the market game, which is induced by the quality of legal institutions, increases trust by 7 to 11%, and trustworthiness by 13 to 19%. This suggests that moral norms of cooperative behavior can follow improvements in formal institutional quality. Cultural origin, initial trust and trustworthiness influence opportunistic behavior in markets, but only in the absence of strong formal institutions.
    Keywords: legal institutions, culture, trust, trustworthiness, markets, experimental methods
    JEL: K40 O17 Z10
    Date: 2013–10
  3. By: Le Zhang (University of New South Wales); Andreas Ortmann (University of New South Wales)
    Abstract: In this paper, we reproduce Engel’s (2011) meta-study of dictator game experiments using his data, and then replicate it using our own data. We find that Engel’s (2011) meta-study of dictator game experiments is quite robust. We show that meta-analyses of dictator game experiments depend to an extent on the definition of independent variables and consistent coding of studies. This insight pertains in particular to the take-option, which has produced important questions (Bardsley 2008; List 2007; Guala and Mittone 2010) about the epistemological inferences one can draw from dictator game experiments.
    Keywords: dictator game experiments, meta-analysis, meta-regression, reproduction, replication
    JEL: C24 C91 D03
    Date: 2012–11
  4. By: Le Zhang (University of New South Wales); Andreas Ortmann (University of New South Wales)
    Abstract: The literature on dictator [D] games seems to demonstrate that some people are quite altruistic (nice), whereas the literature on joy-of-destruction [JoD] games shows that some people may be quite nasty. We study to what extent these behaviors are context dependent: If people are nice or nasty, are they consistently so? Or are niceness and nastiness dependent on circumstances? What are some of these circumstances? And what role does efficiency play in this context? We study these issues in a counter-balanced within-subject design of one-shot D and JoD games across three treatments (between-subjects). We find that people’s niceness, and nastiness, are indeed choice set, and context, dependent. When take-options and add-options (mirror images of give-options in standard D games and destruction options in standard JoD games) were added, we find considerable heterogeneity in types but relatively little behavior that can be considered clearly inconsistent, i.e., both nice and nasty. Consistent with previous evidence, we also find that subjects pay considerable attention to efficiency considerations. Mach-IV scores and other demographic characteristics have larger – but not large – effects on niceness (giving decision) than nastiness (destruction decision) where they, in our setting, essentially make no difference. Importantly, the order of decision elicitation implicit in our counter-balanced within-subject design, and, intriguingly, the definition of the relevant reference point (especially for giving decisions), matter for the interpretation of the results.
    Keywords: Dictator game, Joy-of-Destruction game, Money burning, Altruism, Nastiness, Efficiency considerations, Mach-IV test
    JEL: A13 C79 D03 D64
    Date: 2012–12
  5. By: Bradley J. Ruffle (BGU); Yossef Tobol (School of Industrial Management Jerusalem College of Technology Jerusalem Israel and IZA, Bonn)
    Abstract: We show that temporally distancing the decision task from the payment of the reward increases honest behavior. Each of 427 Israeli soldiers fulfilling their mandatory military service rolled a six-sided die in private and reported the outcome to the unit's cadet coordinator. For every point reported, the soldier received an additional half-hour early release from the army base on Thursday afternoon. Soldiers who participated on Sunday (the first work day of the week) are significantly more honest than those who participated later in the week. We derive practical implications for eliciting honesty.
    Keywords: experimental economics, honesty, temporal distance, soldiers.
    JEL: C93 D63
    Date: 2013
  6. By: Trautmann, Stefan T. (Tilburg University); van de Kuilen, Gijs (Tilburg University); Zeckhauser, Richard J. (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Differences in ethical behavior between members of the upper and lower classes have been at the center of civic debates in recent years. This paper presents a framework for understanding how class affects ethical standards and behaviors. The framework is applied using data from a large Dutch population sample. The data include objective measures of class, survey responses relating to ethical behavior, and results from an experiment designed to probe ethical choices. Ethical behavior proves to be affected by (i) moral values, (ii) social orientation, and (iii) the costs and benefits of taking various actions. Strong class differences emerge in each of these areas, leading to differences in behavior. Moreover, strong differences among different conceptions of class (wealth, education, etc.) produce additional variation. We argue that the relationship between class and ethical behavior is far from a simple pattern; it is a complex mosaic.
    Date: 2013–03
  7. By: Konrad, Kai A.; Morath, Florian
    Abstract: This paper considers evolutionarily stable decisions about whether to initiate violent conflict rather than accepting a peaceful sharing outcome. Focusing on small sets of players such as countries in a geographically confined area, we use Schaffer's (1988) concept of evolutionary stability. We find that players' evolutionarily stable preferences widen the range of peaceful resource allocations that are rejected in favor of violent conflict, compared to the Nash equilibrium outcomes. Relative advantages in fighting strength are reflected in the equilibrium set of peaceful resource allocations. -- Diese Arbeit untersucht evolutionär stabile Entscheidungen, ob in Konfliktsituationen ein friedlicher Kompromiss akzeptiert oder eine gewaltsame Lösung gesucht wird. Wir nutzen dabei das Konzept der evolutionären Stabilität von Schaffer (1988) und fokussieren auf eine kleine Anzahl von Spielern, wie z. B. Länder eines geographisch begrenzten Gebietes. Es wird gezeigt, dass - verglichen mit dem Nash-Gleichgewicht - die evolutionär stabilen Präferenzen der Spieler die Menge der friedlichen Ressourcenallokation vergrößern, die zugunsten gewaltsamer Konfliktlösungen zurückgewiesen werden. Relative Vorteile hinsichtlich der Kampfstärke spiegeln sich im Gleichgewicht friedlicher Ressourcenallokation wider.
    Keywords: Conflict,Contest,Endogenous fighting,Balance of power,Evolutionary stability
    JEL: D72 D74
    Date: 2013
  8. By: Neher, Frank (Freie Universitat Berlin)
    Abstract: The present paper integrates the empirical research on preference for redistribution. We analyze the influence of individual and socio-economic characteristics, beliefs, social identity and social class on individual preferences for redistribution. Macroeconomic conditions and the relative size of the welfare state are accounted for. After assessing these determinants individually, they are considered jointly in order to assess their substitutive or complementary relation. The analysis is first restricted to OECD countries and in a second step extended to a large group of non-OECD countries. We find that that gender, income, education, social class and beliefs in self-determination and a fair world have significant effects on preferences for redistribution.
    Keywords: preferences for redistribution; beliefs; social identity
    JEL: D60 H23 I30
    Date: 2012–06–12
  9. By: Joseph Flavian Gomes
    Abstract: We compute new measures of religious diversity and intolerance and study their effects on civil conflict. Using a religion tree that describes the relationship between different religions, we compute measures of religious diversity at three different levels of aggregation. We find that religious diversity is a significant and robust correlate of civil conflict. While religious fractionalization significantly reduces conflict, religious polarization increases it. This is most robust at the second level of aggregation which implies that the cleavage between Hindus, Muslims, Jews, and Christians etc. is more relevant than that between either subgroups of religions like Protestants and Catholics, Shias and Sunnis, etc. or that between higher levels of aggregation like Abrahamic and Indian religions. We find religious intolerance to be a significant and robust predictor of conflict. Ethnic polarization ceases to be a robust predictor of civil conflict once we control for religious diversity and intolerance. We find no evidence that some religions are more violent than others.
    Date: 2013–05

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