nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2014‒04‒11
nine papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Between-group conflict and other-regarding preferences in nested social dilemmas By Robert Böhm; Gary Bornstein; Hannes Koppel
  2. Evolutionary Dynamics and Fast Convergence in the Assignment Game By Bary S.R. Pradelski
  3. The transmission of longevity across generations: The case of the settler Cape Colony By Piraino, Patrizio; Muller, Sean; Cilliers, Jeanne; Fourie, Johan
  4. Why are economists so different? Nature, nurture, and gender effects in a simple trust game By Haucap, Justus; Müller, Andrea
  5. Land Reforms, Status and Population Growth By Lehmijoki, Ulla; Palokangas, Tapio K.
  6. Institutional Change and Economic Evolution in Regions By Grillitsch, Markus
  7. The Wild West is Wild: The Homicide Resource Curse By Mathieu Couttenier; Pauline Grosjean; Marc Sangnier
  8. The Misbehavior of Reinforcement Learning By Gianluigi Mongillo; Hanan Shteingart; Yonatan Loewenstein
  9. Evolution of wealth in a nonconservative economy driven by local Nash equilibria By Pierre Degond; Jian-Guo Liu; Christian Ringhofer

  1. By: Robert Böhm (RWTH Aachen University, Germany); Gary Bornstein (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel); Hannes Koppel (Heidelberg University, Germany)
    Abstract: We investigate experimentally the underlying motivations and individual dierences with regard to the participation in between-group conflict in nested social dilemmas. In our nested social dilemmas, the collective is divided into two groups, and individuals allocate tokens between a private, a group-specific, and a collective good. We vary the marginal per capita return of the group-specific and collective good in order to manipulate the motivational within- and between group conflicts. A first experiment shows that a between-group conflict leads to within-group cooperation and particularly individuals with positive other-regarding preferences (prosocials) react to a between-group conflict by contributing to the group-specific good. Hence, paradoxically, individuals with positive other-regarding preferences may foster between-group conflicts. A second experiment reveals that prosocials' contributions to the group-specific or collective good vary as a function of the personal costs of within-group versus collective cooperation, supporting the weighted average social preference theory by Charness and Rabin (2002).
    Keywords: between-group conflict, nested social dilemma, other-regarding preferences, local and global public goods
    JEL: C72 C92 H41
    Date: 2014–03–31
  2. By: Bary S.R. Pradelski
    Abstract: We study evoloutionary, decentralized dynamics for the classic assignment game (Shapley and Shubik 1972).� Players encounter each other at random and agree to match if they are feasible.� We propose a variant of the behaviorally motivated model in Nax, Pradelski, and Young (2013) which converges to stable and optimal outcomes in polynomial time in the number of players.� This is achieved although players have no knowledge about other players' payoffs or actions.� Instead, there is a market sentiment: if negative players on one side of the market (workers) are asking for a bit less, if positive players on the other side of the market (firms) are offering a bit more.� We also show that the latter condition is necessary.
    Keywords: assignment games, core, evolutionary game theory, matching markets, convergence time
    JEL: C71 C73 C78 D83
    Date: 2014–03–03
  3. By: Piraino, Patrizio (SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town); Muller, Sean (SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town); Cilliers, Jeanne (Stellenbosch University); Fourie, Johan (Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: Evidence on long-term multigenerational dynamics is often inadequate as large datasets with multiple generations remain very uncommon. We posit that genealogical records can offer a valuable alternative. Rather than exploring the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status, we rely on birth and death dates of eighteenth and nineteenth century settlers in South Africa's Cape Colony to estimate the intergenerational transmission of longevity. We find that there is a positive and significant association between parents' and offspring's life duration, as well as between siblings. Although these correlations persist over time, the coefficients are relatively small. While the effect of grandparents' longevity on that of grandchildren is insignificant, the cousin correlations suggest that inequality in longevity might persist across more than two generations. We suggest that family and environmental factors shared by cousins, beyond grandparental longevity, can explain these results.
    Keywords: intergenerational mobility; longevity
    JEL: J62 N37
    Date: 2013
  4. By: Haucap, Justus; Müller, Andrea
    Abstract: We analyze the behavior of 577 economics and law students in a simple binary trust experiment. While economists are both significantly less trusting and less trustworthy than law students, this difference is largely due to differences between female law and economics students. While female law students are already different in nature (during the first term of study) from female economists, the gap between them also widens more drastically over the course of their study compared to their male counterparts. This finding is rather critical as the detailed composition of students is typically neglected in most experiments. --
    Keywords: Gender Effects,Trust Game,Economists,Nature,Nurture
    JEL: A12 A22 C35 C91
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Lehmijoki, Ulla (University of Helsinki); Palokangas, Tapio K. (University of Helsinki)
    Abstract: In this document, we consider the effects of a land reform on economic and demographic growth by a family-optimization model with sharecropping, endogenous fertility and status seeking. We show that tenant farming is the major obstacle to escaping the Malthusian trap with high fertility and low productivity. A land reform provides peasant families higher returns for their investments in land, encouraging them to increase their productivity of land rather than their family size. This decreases fertility and increases productivity in agriculture in the short and long runs. The European demographic history provides supporting evidence for this.
    Keywords: land reforms, population growth, status seeking, sharecropping
    JEL: O41 J13 N33
    Date: 2014–03
  6. By: Grillitsch, Markus (CIRCLE, Lund University)
    Abstract: The overall objective of this paper is to contribute conceptually to the questions why and how regions transform and it joins the debate on economic evolution and institutional change. The paper addresses the challenge of how to conceptualise the interdependencies of institutions of different types and spatial scales. It aims at developing a conceptual framework that i) appreciates the variety of institutional forms and the multi-scalar nature of institutional landscapes, ii) is tangible enough for operationalization in the context of empirical research, and iii) contributes to our understanding about institutional change and economic evolution in regions. The paper offers a review on how institutions have been conceptualised in the context of evolutionary economic geography, a proposal for understanding regional institutional frameworks and institutional change through a novel way of conceptualising institutional layering, a clear distinction between concepts such as agency, networks, social structures and institutional layers, and a discussion about how this can improve our understanding about regional transformation.
    Keywords: Evolutionary economic geography; institutional theory; regional change; institutional layering
    JEL: B52 R11
    Date: 2014–03–25
  7. By: Mathieu Couttenier (University of Lausanne.); Pauline Grosjean (School of Economics, Australian School of Business, the University of New South Wales); Marc Sangnier (Aix-Marseille University, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, CNRS & EHESS.)
    Abstract: We uncover interpersonal violence as a dimension and a mechanism of the re- source curse. We rely on a historical natural experiment in the United States, in which mineral discoveries occurred at various stages of governmental territorial ex- pansion. “Early” mineral discoveries, before full-fledged rule of law is in place in a county, are associated with higher levels of interpersonal violence, both historically and today. The persistence of this homicide resource curse is partly explained by the low quality of (subsequent) judicial institutions. The specificity of our results to violent crime also suggests that a private order of property rights did emerge on the frontier, but that it was enforced through high levels of interpersonal violence. The results are robust to state-specific effects, to comparing only neighboring counties, and to comparing only discoveries within short time intervals of one another.
    Keywords: Homicide, Institutions, Resource curse, United States
    JEL: K42 N51 Z13
    Date: 2014–03
  8. By: Gianluigi Mongillo; Hanan Shteingart; Yonatan Loewenstein
    Abstract: Organisms modify their behavior in response to its consequences, a phenomenon referred to as operant learning. The computational principles and neural mechanisms underlying operant learning are a subject of extensive experimental and theoretical investigations. Theoretical approaches largely rely on concepts and algorithms from Reinforcement Learning. The dominant view is that organisms maintain a value function, that is a set of estimates of the cumulative future rewards associated with the different behavioral options. These values are then used to select actions. Learning in this framework results from the update of these values depending on experience of the consequences of past actions. An alternative view questions the applicability of such a computational scheme to many real-life situations. Instead, it posits that organisms exploit the intrinsic variability in their action selection mechanism(s) to modify their behavior, e.g., via stochastic gradient ascent, without the need of an explicit representation of values. In this review, we compare these two approaches in terms of their computational power and flexibility, their putative neural correlates and, finally, in terms of their ability to account for behavior as observed in repeated-choice experiments. We discuss the successes and failures of these alternative approaches in explaining the observed patterns of choice behavior. We conclude by identifying some of the important challenges to a comprehensive theory of operant learning.
    Date: 2014–03
  9. By: Pierre Degond (Department of Mathematics - Imperial College London - Imperial College London); Jian-Guo Liu (Duke Physics - Duke University); Christian Ringhofer (Department of Mathematics - Arizona State University)
    Abstract: We develop a model for the evolution of wealth in a non-conservative economic environment, extending a theory developed earlier by the authors. The model considers a system of rational agents interacting in a game theoretical framework. This evolution drives the dynamic of the agents in both wealth and economic configuration variables. The cost function is chosen to represent a risk averse strategy of each agent. That is, the agent is more likely to interact with the market, the more predictable the market, and therefore the smaller its individual risk. This yields a kinetic equation for an effective single particle agent density with a Nash equilibrium serving as the local thermodynamic equilibrium. We consider a regime of scale separation where the large scale dynamics is given by a hydrodynamic closure with this local equilibrium. A class of generalized collision invariants (GCIs) is developed to overcome the difficulty of the non-conservative property in the hydrodynamic closure derivation of the large scale dynamics for the evolution of wealth distribution. The result is a system of gas dynamics-type equations for the density and average wealth of the agents on large scales. We recover the inverse Gamma distribution, which has been previously considered in the literature, as a local equilibrium for particular choices of the cost function.
    Date: 2014–03–30

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