nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2014‒09‒29
five papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Natural Land Productivity, Cooperation and Comparative Development By Anastasia Litina
  2. How do people choose their commuting mode? An evolutionary approach to transport choices By Simone Borghesi; Chiara Calastri; Giorgio Fagiolo
  3. Institutions And The Preservation Of Cultural Traits By Prummer, Anja; Siedlarek, Jan-Peter
  4. Social Distance, Reputation, Risk Attitude, Value Orientation and Equity in Economic Exchanges By Mohamed I. Gomaa; Stuart Mestelman; Mohamed Shehata
  5. How structurally stable are global socioeconomic systems? By Serguei Saavedra; Rudolf P. Rohr; Luis J. Gilarranz; Jordi Bascompte

  1. By: Anastasia Litina (CREA, Université de Luxembourg)
    Abstract: This research advances the hypothesis that natural land productivity in the past, and its effect on the desirable level of cooperation in the agricultural sector, had a persistent effect on the evolution of social capital, the process of industrialization and comparative economic development across the globe. Exploiting exogenous sources of variations in land productivity across a) countries; b) individuals within a country, and c) migrants of different ancestry within a country, the research establishes that lower level of land productivity in the past is associated with more intense coope- ration and higher levels of contemporary social capital and development,
    Keywords: Land productivity, Cooperation, Social Capital, trust, Growth, development, Agriculture, Industrialisation
    JEL: O11 O13 O14 O31 O33 O41 O50
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Simone Borghesi; Chiara Calastri; Giorgio Fagiolo
    Abstract: The issue of transportation is of primary importance in our societies. A large share of greenhouse gases is generated by the transport sector, and road casualties are one among the most common causes of death. In the present work, we study commuter choice between alternative transport modes using an evolutionary- game model, wherein commuters can choose between using their private car or taking the bus. We examine the possible dynamics that can emerge in a homogeneous urban population, where agents are boundedly rational and imitate the others. We obtain a different number of equilibria depending on the values of the parameters of the model. We carry out comparative-static exercises and examine possible policy measures that can be implemented in order to modify the agents' payoff, and consequently the equilibria of the system, leading the society towards more sustainable transportation patterns.
    Keywords: Commuter choices; Transportation; Evolutionary dynamics; Environmental policy
    Date: 2014–08–09
  3. By: Prummer, Anja; Siedlarek, Jan-Peter
    Abstract: We offer a novel explanation for why some immigrant groups and minorities have persistent, distinctive cultural traits – the presence of a rigid institution. Such an institution is necessary for communities to not fully assimilate to the mainstream society. We distinguish between different types of institutions, such as churches, foreign-language media or ethnic business associations and ask what level of cultural distinction these institutions prefer. Any type of institution can have incentives to be extreme and select maximal cultural distinction from the mainstream society. If institutions choose positive cultural distinction, without being extremist, then a decrease in discrimination leads to reduced assimilation.
    Date: 2014–08–04
  4. By: Mohamed I. Gomaa; Stuart Mestelman; Mohamed Shehata
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to use the ultimatum game setting in a controlled laboratory environment to provide additional empirical evidence on the puzzling phenomenon of why some economic agents may reject non-trivial offers for distributing the surplus of an economic transaction, while others may accept very trivial amounts. Previous research across disciplines (economics, biology, philosophy, sociology and psychology) has studied this phenomenon. These studies provide numerous explanations of such contradictory behavior, most of which are unobservable and vary across economic agents. Our research design attempts to control for this unobserved heterogeneity across agents by using the dual-role design where the participants simultaneously play the roles of both the sender and recipient with two anonymous partners in a multi-period ultimatum game. This design allows us to develop a fairness index for each participant. The fairness index is then used as an explanatory variable to help understand the agents’ decisions to accept or reject the proposed distribution of resources. We use a multi-period within-subjects design to control for some of the unobserved heterogeneity across subjects. In addition, measure subjects’ risk attitudes and value orientations and explicitly include them in the regression analysis. The results show that the fairness index is a crucial determinant of agents’ decisions to accept or reject the proposed splits. Furthermore, while individuals’ social value orientations are not significant determinants of whether or not an offer is accepted, risk attitudes are important.
    Keywords: ultimatum games, fairness, social distance, value orientation, risk preference
    Date: 2014–09
  5. By: Serguei Saavedra; Rudolf P. Rohr; Luis J. Gilarranz; Jordi Bascompte
    Abstract: The stability analysis of socioeconomic systems has been centered on answering whether small perturbations when a system is in a given quantitative state will push the system permanently to a different quantitative state. However, typically the quantitative state of socioeconomic systems is subject to constant change. Therefore, a key stability question that has been under-investigated is how strong the conditions of a system itself can change before the system moves to a qualitatively different behavior, i.e., how structurally stable the systems is. Here, we introduce a framework to investigate the structural stability of socioeconomic systems formed by the network of interactions among agents competing for resources. We measure the structural stability of the system as the range of conditions in the distribution and availability of resources compatible with the qualitative behavior in which all the constituent agents can be self-sustained across time. To illustrate our framework, we study an empirical representation of the global socioeconomic system formed by countries sharing and competing for multinational companies used as proxy for resources. We demonstrate that the structural stability of the system is inversely associated with the level of competition and the level of heterogeneity in the distribution of resources. Importantly, we show that the qualitative behavior of the observed global socioeconomic system is highly sensitive to changes in the distribution of resources. We believe this work provides a methodological basis to develop sustainable strategies for socioeconomic systems subject to constantly changing conditions.
    Date: 2014–08

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