nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2014‒04‒18
twelve papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Cooperation and Personality By Proto, Eugenio
  2. Long-Term Barriers to Economic Development By Spolaore, Enrico; Wacziarg, Romain
  3. How peer-punishment affects cooperativeness in homogeneous and heterogeneous groups: A public goods experiment with social identity By Bicskei, Marianna; Lankau, Matthias; Bizer, Kilian
  4. Observing the Strategies Subjects Identify from Choice Data in a Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma By Tobie Cusson; Jim Engle-Warnick
  5. War and Relatedness By Spolaore, Enrico; Wacziarg, Romain
  6. Negative reciprocity and its relation to anger-like emotions in homogeneous and heterogeneous groups By Bicskei, Marianna; Lankau, Matthias; Bizer, Kilian
  7. Imitative Behavior and Evolutionary Dynamics for the Comparative Advantage of International Trade Theory By Accinelli Gamba, Elvio; Sánchez Carrera, Edgar J.
  8. Endogenous Changes in Tastes By Daniel Léonard; Ngo Van Long
  9. Immigrants and Religion By Chiswick, Carmel U.
  10. The Economic and Demographic Transition, Mortality, and Comparative Development By Cervellati, Matteo; Sunde, Uwe
  11. Size Matters: The Effect of the Scramble for Africa on Informal Institutions and Development By Dimico, Arcangelo

  1. 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
  2. By: Spolaore, Enrico (Tufts University); Wacziarg, Romain (UCLA, NBER and CEPR)
    Abstract: What obstacles prevent the most productive technologies from spreading to less developed economies from the worlds technological frontier? In this paper, we seek to shed light on this question by quantifying the geographic and human barriers to the transmission of technologies. We argue that the intergenerational transmission of human traits, particularly culturally trans- mitted traits, has led to divergence between populations over the course of history. In turn, this divergence has introduced barriers to the di¤usion of technologies across societies. We provide measures of historical and genealogical distances between populations, and document how such distances, relative to the worlds technological frontier, act as barriers to the di¤usion of devel- opment and of speci…c innovations. We provide an interpretation of these results in the context of an emerging literature seeking to understand variation in economic development as the result of factors rooted deep in history.
    Keywords: Long-run growth, genetic distance, intergenerational transmission, di¤usion of innovations.
    Date: 2013
  3. By: Bicskei, Marianna; Lankau, Matthias; Bizer, Kilian
    Abstract: This article analyzes how the anticipation of peer-punishment affects cooperativeness in the provision of public goods under social identity. For this purpose we conduct one-shot public good games with induced social identity and implement in-group, out-group and random matching protocols. Our measure of cooperativeness is subjects' conditional contribution elicited via the strategy method, which allows for observing behavior contingent on every possible level of group members' cooperation. We demonstrate, firstly, that the social environment is a determinant of how the threat of peer-punishment influences cooperation. The strongest increase is clearly evident when subjects interact with members of different identities, which is especially the case for individuals who were initially categorized as freeriders. Secondly, anticipation of peer-punishment clearly eliminates the typically existing ingroup bias without punishment and renders out-group members to be as cooperative as ingroups members. Lastly, the results indicate that the institutions of peer-punishment and social identity may be complemented in order to raise subjects' cooperativeness. --
    JEL: C92 D03 D73 H41
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Tobie Cusson; Jim Engle-Warnick
    Abstract: We experimentally test the ability of subjects to identify repeated-game strategies from prisoner's dilemma choice data. In the experiments, subjects use a finite state grammar to build models to fit game histories. The histories are designed to distinguish between strategies with empirical and theoretical validity. We find that subjects successfully identify unconditional, punishment, and counting strategies. When data are observationally equivalent among different strategies, punishment strategies tend to be inferred. When inferred strategies do not fit the data, they tend to be more complex than necessary and to contain positive reciprocity and forgiveness. Our experiment provides an empirical basis for repeated-game strategies and sheds new light on play in repeated games.
    Keywords: Repeated game, prisoner's dilemma, finite automata, strategies,
    JEL: C90 C73 D03
    Date: 2013–08–01
  5. 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
  6. By: Bicskei, Marianna; Lankau, Matthias; Bizer, Kilian
    Abstract: Several studies have shown that social identity fosters the provision of public goods and enhances the willingness to reciprocate cooperative behavior of group members dependent on the social environment. Yet, the question of how social identity affects negative reciprocity in identityhomogeneous and -heterogeneous groups has received only little attention. Consequently, we seek to fill this gap by examining whether social identity affects individuals' willingness to sanction deviating group members in a public good context. Moreover, we devote particular attention to the role of anger-like emotions in negative reciprocity. To test our hypotheses we employ one-shot public good games in strategy method with induced social identity. Our results indicate that members of identity homogeneous groups punish much less often and in smaller amounts than of identity heterogeneous groups when they face contributions smaller than their own. We also find that anger-like emotions influence punishment behavior much stronger when individuals are matched with members of different identities than in identity homogenous groups. These findings contribute to the better understanding of the nature of social identity and its impact on reciprocity, improving economists ability to predict behavior taking emotions also into consideration. --
    Keywords: social identity,emotions,experiment,public goods,negative reciprocity
    Date: 2014
  7. By: Accinelli Gamba, Elvio; Sánchez Carrera, Edgar J.
    Abstract: We claim that economic agents driven by imitative behavior may impact the industrial specialization of national economies. We use a simple two-country model, where workers and firms decide to be skilled (or unskilled) and innovative (or non-innovative). We show that comparative advantages and international trade, under the assumption of a rational strategic behavior of the economic agents, can lead countries towards either an equilibrium with high-social performance or a poverty trap.
    Keywords: Imitation theory and games; population games; trade strategy.
    JEL: F13
    Date: 2014–02–27
  8. By: Daniel Léonard; Ngo Van Long
    Abstract: Parents care about their children, spend resources on educating them and bequeath them some physical and/or human capital. Here we argue that the actions of the parents have an influence, not only on the productive possibilities open to the children (through the capital they inherit) but also on their tastes and attitudes. We investigate the resulting dynamics of this idea. Several influences are identified but one startling result is that, if inheritance has a large influence on people's attitude to work, the pattern of behavior becomes completely unpredictable after a few generations Les parents se soucient de leurs enfants, dépensent des ressources pour les éduquer, ils leur lèguent un capital physique et/ou humain. Ici, nous montrons que les actions des parents ont une influence, non seulement sur les possibilités de production ouvertes aux enfants (par le biais du captital dont ils héritent), mais aussi sur leurs goûts et leurs attitudes. Nous étudions la dynamique résultant de cette idée. Plusieurs influences sont identifiées mais un résultat surprenant est que, si l'héritage a une grande influence sur l'attitude des gens envers le travail, l’évolution du stock de capital et du travail devient totalement imprévisible après quelques générations
    Keywords: Endogenous preferences, bequests, chaos., évolution de préférences, legs, chaos.
    JEL: D11
    Date: 2014–02–01
  9. By: Chiswick, Carmel U. (George Washington University)
    Abstract: Religious considerations affect the decision to immigrate as well as the choice of destination country, and religious behaviors change as immigrants adjust to the economic context of their new country. This paper considers the interaction between the Economics of Religion and the Economics of Immigration, and distinguishes between religiosity per se and an immigrant's religious identity (affiliation). Religious groups are described as quasi-enclaves and immigrant churches as a subset of these. Rising full prices (wage rates) and incomes during the adjustment process affect the religious behavior of immigrants. Religious institutions (referred to as churches) also respond to systematic changes in the religious behaviors of their members.
    Keywords: international migration, immigrant adjustment, quasi-enclave, immigrant church, religiosity, religion, social change
    JEL: Z12 J61 J11 J15
    Date: 2014–04
  10. By: Cervellati, Matteo (University of Bologna); Sunde, Uwe (University of Munich)
    Abstract: We propose a unified growth theory to investigate the mechanics generating the economic and demographic transition, and the role of mortality differences for comparative development. The framework can replicate the quantitative pat- terns in historical time series data and in contemporaneous cross-country panel data, including the bi-modal distribution of the endogenous variables across coun- tries. The results suggest that differences in extrinsic mortality might explain a substantial part of the observed differences in the timing of the take-off across countries and the worldwide density distribution of the main variables of interest.
    Keywords: Economic and Demographic Transition, Adult Mortality, Child Mortality, Quantitative Analysis, Unified Growth Model, Heterogeneous Human Capital, Comparative Development, Development Traps
    Date: 2013
  11. By: Dimico, Arcangelo
    Abstract: We argue that the partition of ethnic groups following the Scramble for Africa does not itself matter for development in Africa. It matters only when the partitioned groups are relatively small because small groups lack political representation which may promote ethnic mobilization and foster support for informal (rather than formal) institutions which then may a ect development. Furthermore, the analysis of data from the Afrobarometer shows that the persistence of informal/tribal institutions related to property rights and the rule of law is one of the possible channels through which the size of the partitioned group a ects development --
    Keywords: partition,ethnic groups,development
    JEL: O10 N17 N47
    Date: 2014
  12. By: Broadberry, Stephen (London School of Economics and CAGE)
    Keywords: This paper “accounts” for the Great Divergence between Europe and Asia in two ways. In the sense of measurement: (1) the traditional view, in which the Great Divergence had late medieval origins and was already well under way during the early modern period, is confirmed (2) However, revisionists are correct to point to regional variation within both continents (3) There was a Little Divergence within Europe, with a reversal of fortunes between the North Sea Area and Mediterranean Europe. (4) There was a Little Divergence within Asia, with Japan overtaking China and India. However, Japan started at a lower level of per capita income than the North Sea Area and grew at a slower rate, so continued to fall behind until after the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Any explanation needs to be able to account for the Little Divergences within Europe and Asia as well as the Great Divergence between the two continents. The divergences arose from the differential impact of shocks hitting economies with different structural features. The structural factors include: (1) The large share of pastoral farming in agriculture which helped to put the North Sea Area on the path to high-value-added, capital-intensive, non-human-energy intensive production. (2) Late marriage in the North Sea Area, which lowered fertility and encouraged human capital formation (3) Labour supply, with an industrious revolution helping to explain the Little Divergences within both Asia and Europe (4) Institutions, with the role of the state helping to explain the success of the North Sea Area. The two key shocks were (1) The Black Death, which led to a permanent per capita income gain in the North Sea Area, but not in the rest of Eurasia (2) The new trade routes which opened up from Europe to Asia and the Americas around 1500.; Great Divergence; living standards; measurement; explanation
    Date: 2013

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