nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2013‒08‒16
seven papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Do institutions affect social preferences? Evidence from divided Korea By Byung-Yeon Kim; Syngjoo Choi; Jungmin Lee; Sokbae 'Simon' Lee; Kyunghui Choi
  2. Trust in Cohesive Communities By Felipe Balmaceda; Juan Esconar
  3. Cooperation and Personality By Proto, Eugenio
  4. Norms of Punishment in the General Population By S. Bortolotti; M. Casari; F. Pancotto
  5. Reciprocity as an individual difference By Kurt A. Ackermann; Jürgen Fleiß; Ryan O. Murphy
  6. A Modern Postmodern Urbanism The Systemic Retroactive game (SyR) between Bottom-up and Top-down By D'Acci, Luca
  7. War and Relatedness By Spolaore, Enrico; Wacziarg, Romain

  1. By: Byung-Yeon Kim; Syngjoo Choi (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Jungmin Lee (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Arkansas); Sokbae 'Simon' Lee (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Seoul National University); Kyunghui Choi
    Abstract: The Cold War division of Korea, regarded as a natural experiment in institutional change, provides a unique opportunity to examine whether institutions affect social preferences. We recruited North Korean refugees and South Korean students to conduct laboratory experiments eliciting social preferences, together with standard surveys measuring subjective attitudes toward political and economic institutions. Our experiments employ widely used dictator and trust games, with four possible group matches between North and South Koreans by informing them of the group identity of their anonymous partners. Experimental behaviour and support for institutions differ substantially between and within groups. North Korean refugees prefer more egalitatian distribution in the dictator games than South Korean students, even after controlling for individual characteristics that could be correlated with social preferences; however, the two groups show little difference in the trust game, once we control for more egalitarian behaviour of North Koreans. North Korean refugees show less support for market economy and democracy than South Korean subjects. Attitudes toward insitutions are more strongly associated with the experimental behaviours among South Korean subjects than among North Korean subjects. An online appendix to accompany this publication is available here
    Keywords: social preferences, experiment, institutions, market economy, democracy
    JEL: C92 C93 D03 P20
    Date: 2013–08
  2. By: Felipe Balmaceda; Juan Esconar
    Abstract: This paper studies which social networks maximize trust and cooperation when agreements are implicitly enforced. We study a repeated trust game in which trading opportunities arise exogenously and the social network determines the information transmission technology. We show that cohesive communities, modeled as social networks of complete components, emerge as the optimal community design. Cohesive communities generate some degree of common knowledge of transpired play that allows players to coordinate their punishments and, as a result, yield relatively high equilibrium payoffs. Our results provide an economic rationale for the commonly argued optimality of cohesive social networks.
    Date: 2013
  3. By: Proto, Eugenio (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: Cooperating and trusting behavior may be explained by preferences over social outcomes (people care about others, are unselfish and help- ful), or attitudes to work and social responsibilities (plans have to be carried out, norms have to be followed). If the first hypothesis is true, Agreeable- ness, reporting stated empathy for others, should matter most; if the second, higher score in traits expressing attitude to work, intrinsic motivation (Con- scientiousness) should be correlated with cooperating behavior and trust. We find experimental support for the second hypothesis when subjects provide real mental effort in two treatments with identical task, differing by whether others' payment is affected.
    Keywords: Personality Traits, Cooperation, Effort Provision
    Date: 2013
  4. By: S. Bortolotti; M. Casari; F. Pancotto
    Abstract: Norms of cooperation and punishment differ across societies, but also within a single society. In an experiment with two subject pools sharing the same geographical and cultural origins, we show that opportunities for peer punishment increase cooperation among students but not in the general population. In previous studies, punishment magnified the differences across societies in peoples ability to cooperate. Here, punishment reversed the order: with punishment, students cooperate more than the general population while they cooperate less without it. Our results obtained with students cannot be readily generalized to the society at large.
    JEL: C72 C90 Z13
    Date: 2013–08
  5. By: Kurt A. Ackermann (Chair of Decision Theory and Behavioral Game Theory, ETH Zurich); Jürgen Fleiß (Institute of Statistics and Operations Research, Karl-Franzens-University Graz); Ryan O. Murphy (Chair of Decision Theory and Behavioral Game Theory, ETH Zurich)
    Abstract: There is accumulating evidence that decision makers are sensitive to the distribution of resources among themselves and others, beyond what is expected from the predictions of narrow self-interest. These social preferences are typically conceptualized as being static and existing independently of information about the other people influenced by a DM’s allocation choices. In this paper we consider the reactivity of a decision makers’s social preferences in response to information about the intentions or past behavior of the person to be affected by the decision maker’s allocation choices (i.e., how do social preferences change in relation to the other’s type). This paper offers a conceptual framework for characterizing the link between distributive preferences and reciprocity, and reports on experiments in which these two constructs are disentangled and the relation between the two is characterized.
    Date: 2013–08–06
  6. By: D'Acci, Luca
    Abstract: These couple of pages discuss upon the retroactive influence (Systemic Retroactive game, or SyR) between people’s behaviour and environment. The latter is intended as physical environment (type of cities, climate, geography…), normative environment (laws), moral environment (religions, families cultures), values and life styles (politics-economics systems, families and neighbourhood habits). Individual behaviours can generate an emergent phenomenon (Autonomous Post-Emergence, or APE) which becomes ‘independent’ from them even if maintained and changeable from them, and which influences (top-down feedback) the individual behaviours, which influence it, which influences them, which influence it... Market-economy, globalization, religions, cities, political-economics systems, are example of APE. The characters of people and societies are built throughout history by an interconnected mix among geography, climate, trades and chance: all together create a specific economic-moral-religious-political system rather than another, therefore the APE is born and starts its SyR dance with its own creators: is Consumerism created by our consumption needs, or are our consumption needs created by Consumerism? Do religions and political-economic systems create our personal values and uses, or vice versa? In a certain way, it is a mix of both: the APE and its agents influence and mutually change each other in their SyR dance-tension: urbs is the physical result of civitas; in turn urbs influences civitas which influences urbs… The discussion ends by defining a Modern Postmodern vision, mixing the positive contributions of both bottom-up (Postmodern) and top-down (Modern) philosophies.
    Keywords: Complex Systems, Modern Postmodernism, Bottom-up, Top-down, City, Modern Postmodern Urbanism.
    JEL: C70 D01 D03 D70 O18 O20 O21 R00 R14 R38 R50 R52 R58
    Date: 2013–08–03
  7. By: Spolaore, Enrico (Tufts University); Wacziarg, Romain (UCLA Anderson School of Management)
    Abstract: We examine the empirical relationship between the occurrence of inter-state conflicts and the degree of relatedness between countries, measured by genetic distance. We find that populations that are genetically closer are more prone to go to war with each other, even after controlling for numerous measures of geographic distance and other factors that affect conflict, including measures of trade and democracy. These findings are consistent with a framework in which conflict over rival and excludable goods (such as territory and resources) is more likely among populations that share more similar preferences, and inherit such preferences with variation from their ancestors.
    Keywords: conflicts
    Date: 2013

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