nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2014‒09‒05
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The Biocultural Origins of Human Capital Formation By Marc Klemp; Oded Galor
  2. Divided Loyalists or Conditional Cooperators? Creating Consensus about Cooperation in Multiple Simultaneous Social Dilemmas By Matthew W. McCarter; Anya C. Samak; Roman M. Sheremeta
  3. Declining Moral Standards and the Role of Law By Sue H. Mialon
  4. From Assortative to Ashortative Coupling: Men’s Height, Height Heterogamy, and Relationship Dynamics in the United States By Abigail Weitzman; Dalton Conley
  5. Migration, Diasporas and Culture: an Empirical Investigation By Paul Collier; Anke Hoeffler
  6. Games With Possibly Naive Hyperbolic Discounters By Haan, Marco; Hauck, Dominic

  1. By: Marc Klemp (Brown University); Oded Galor (Brown University)
    Abstract: This research presents the first evidence that moderate fecundity was conducive to long-run reproductive success within the human species. Exploiting an extensive genealogy record for nearly half a million individuals in Quebec during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the study traces the number of descendants of early inhabitants in the subsequent four generations. Using the time interval between the date of marriage and the first live birth as a measure of reproductive capacity, the research establishes that while a higher fecundity is associated with a larger number of children, an intermediate level maximizes long-run reproductive success. The finding further indicates that the optimal level of fecundity was below the population median, suggesting that the forces of natural selection favored individuals with a lower level of fecundity. The research lends credence to the hypothesis that during the Malthusian epoch, natural selection favored individuals with a larger predisposition towards child quality, contributing to the onset of the demographic transition and the evolution of societies from an epoch of stagnation to sustained economic growth.
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Matthew W. McCarter (University of Texas – San Antonio and Economic Science Institute); Anya C. Samak (University of Wisconsin – Madison); Roman M. Sheremeta (Case Western Reserve University and the Economic Science Institute)
    Abstract: The current social dilemma literature lacks theoretical consensus regarding how individuals behave when facing multiple simultaneous social dilemmas. The divided-loyalty hypothesis, from organizational theory, predicts that cooperation will decline as individuals experience multiple social dilemmas with different compared to the same group members. The conditional-cooperation hypothesis, from behavioral economics, predicts that cooperation will increase as individuals experience multiple social dilemmas with different compared to the same group members. We employ a laboratory experiment to create consensus between these literatures and find support for the conditional-cooperation hypothesis. The positive effect of interacting with different group members comes from participants having an opportunity to shift their cooperative behavior from the less cooperative to the more cooperative group.
    Keywords: cooperation, conditional cooperation, defection, loyalty, experiments, public goods, social dilemmas
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Sue H. Mialon
    Abstract: This paper examines how moral rules form in the process of social learning in order to analyze the relationship between legal rules and moral rules. Members of society learn morality from the observed behavior of other members. Their incentive to act morally is influenced by their expectation of other members' moral behavior. The moral standards of a society are built on the outcomes of such interactions over time. We show that moral standards can quickly deteriorate even if the majority of the members have a strong moral sense individually. When insufficient moral sanctions for wrongful actions are observed, the members form a belief that the society's moral standards are lower than what they had expected. Such a belief encourages more wrongful actions and results in less incentive for the members to act morally. As the moral standards decline, moral rules may not be able to regulate behavior. Legal sanctions can prevent such a decline as they offer an objective and time-invariant level of expectation for the enforcement of rules. Hence, morality is less likely to degenerate in the presence of legal rules. We discuss how strong morality can enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement, in turn.
    Date: 2014–08
  4. By: Abigail Weitzman; Dalton Conley
    Abstract: Studies of online dating suggest that physical attraction is a key factor in early relationship formation, but say little about the role of attractiveness in longer-term relationships. Meanwhile, assortative coupling and exchange models widely employed in demographic research overlook the powerful sorting function of initial and sustained physical attraction. This article observes the effects of one physical characteristic of men—height—on various relationship outcomes in longer-term relationships, including spouses’ attributes, marriage entry and stability, and the division of household labor. Drawing on two different cohorts from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the authors show that (1) height-coupling norms have changed little over the last three decades, (2) short, average, and tall men’s spouses are qualitatively different from one another (3) short men marry and divorce at lower rates than others and (4) both men’s height relative to other men and their height relative to their spouse are related to the within-couple distribution of household labor and earnings. These findings depict an enduring height hierarchy among men on in the spousal marriage market. Further, they indicate that at least one physical characteristic commonly associated with physical attraction influences the formation, functioning, and stability of longer-term relationships.
    JEL: J12
    Date: 2014–08
  5. By: Paul Collier; Anke Hoeffler
    Abstract: Using global data we examine the dynamics of migration from developing to developed countries. Origin and destination countries are characterized by substantial differences in incomes, political rights and cultures. Incentives as well as costs shape the decision to migrate. One powerful dynamic effect is that diasporas increase migration, mainly because they lower the cost of migration. Diasporas assist the next wave of migrants by overcoming the high cost of the emigration, in particular when the origin country is far away and poor. The interaction between the diaspora and cultural distance is also significant. Diasporas in culturally distant countries appear to be particularly useful in overcoming the cost of migration. Culturally distant diasporas are less likely to assimilate and maintain closer links with their country of origin, while diasporas from culturally similar countries are more likely to assimilate and thus be less useful to potential new migrants.
    Keywords: Migration, development, culture
    JEL: O15 Z1
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Haan, Marco; Hauck, Dominic
    Abstract: We propose a solution concept for games that are played among hyperbolic discounters that are possibly naive about their own, or about their opponent's future time inconsistency. Our perception-perfect equilibrium essentially requires each player to take an action consistent with the subgame perfect equilibrium, given her perceptions concerning future types, and under the assumption that other present and future players have the same perceptions. Applications include a common pool problem and Rubinstein bargaining. When players are naive about their own time consistency and sophisticated about their opponent's, the common pool problem is exacerbated, and Rubinstein bargaining breaks down completely.
    Keywords: Hyperbolic Discounting, naivety, bargaining
    JEL: C72 C78 D03 D91
    Date: 2014–08–15

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