nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2014‒11‒17
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Parenting with Style: Altruism and Paternalism in Intergenerational Preference Transmission By Fabrizio Zilibotti; Matthias Doepke
  2. Natural Land Productivity, Cooperation and Comparative Development By Litina, Anastasia
  3. Coevolution of Deception and Preferences: Darwin and Nash Meet Machiavelli By Heller, Yuval; Mohlin, Erik
  4. Omission Effects in Fairness Behavior By Gärtner, Manja; Sandberg, Anna
  5. Great Expectations: The Persistent Effect of Institutions on Culture By Litina, Anastasia
  6. Contraception and the Fertility Transition By Bhattacharya, Joydeep; Chakraborty, Shankha

  1. By: Fabrizio Zilibotti (University of Zurich); Matthias Doepke (Northwestern University)
    Abstract: We construct a theory of intergenerational preference transmission that rationalizes the choice between alternative parenting styles (related to Baumrind 1967). Parents maximize an objective function that combines Beckerian and paternalistic altruism towards children. They can affect their children’s choices via two channels: either by influencing their preferences or by imposing direct restrictions on their choice sets. Different parenting styles (authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive) emerge as equilibrium outcomes, and are affected both by parental preferences and by the socioeconomic environment. We consider two applications: patience and risk aversion. We argue that parenting styles may be important for explaining why different groups or societies develop different attitudes towards human capital formation, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Litina, Anastasia
    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 cooperation and higher levels of contemporary social capital and development.
    Keywords: Land productivity, Cooperation, Social Capital, Trust, Growth, Development, Agriculture, Industrialization
    JEL: O11 O13 O14 O3 O31 O33 O4 O5 O50 O57
    Date: 2014–09–09
  3. By: Heller, Yuval; Mohlin, Erik
    Abstract: We develop a framework in which individuals preferences co-evolve with their abilities to deceive others regarding their preferences and intentions. We show that a pure outcome is stable, essentially if and only if it is an efficient Nash equilibrium. All individuals have the same deception ability in such a stable state. In contrast, there are non-pure outcomes in which non-Nash outcomes are played, and different deception abilities co-exist. We extend our model to study preferences that depend also on the opponent's type.
    Keywords: Evolution of Preferences; Indirect Evolutionary Approach, Theory of Mind; Depth of Reasoning; Deception.
    JEL: C72 C73
    Date: 2014–08–30
  4. By: Gärtner, Manja (Department of Economics); Sandberg, Anna (Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES))
    Abstract: We investigate whether individuals are more prone to act selfishly if they can passively allow for an outcome to be implemented (omission) rather than having to make an active choice (commission). In most settings, active and passive choice alternatives differ in terms of factors such as defaults, costs of taking an action, and awareness. Isolating the distinction between active and passive choices in an experiment, we find no omission effect in fairness behavior. This suggests that increased selfishness through omission, as observed in various economic choice situations, is driven by these other factors rather than a preference for selfish omissions.
    Keywords: Fairness; Social preferences; Morals; Dictator game; Omission
    JEL: D03
    Date: 2014–09–24
  5. By: Litina, Anastasia
    Abstract: This research exploits the event of immigration to establish that institutions have a persistent effect on culture. It is argued that immigrants coming from corrupt countries, tend to overtrust the institutions at the host country. This inflated trust of immigrants is documented as the Great Expectations effect. This result is interesting and intriguing for several reasons. First, it highlights the persistent effect of institutions (at the origin country) on the cultural attitudes of immigrants. Interestingly, this effect is rather persistent and can be detected even to the second generation immigrants. Second, the analysis explores whether mean attitudes at the origin country have an effect on immigrants' attitude. The findings suggest that mean attitudes do not confer a statistically significant effect, whereas a horserace between origin institutions and origin culture suggests that it is the effect of institutions that prevails. Last, the analysis establishes that the inflated trust of immigrants affects their political attitudes. Immigrants coming from corrupt countries tend to be less interested in politics, to overtrust the host governments and to be less active in the political arena. In a globalized world where international immigration is rather extensive, pinning down the cultural differences across immigrants and thus the differences in their political attitudes is of an essence.
    Keywords: Trust, Institutions, Culture, Migration
    JEL: F22 O17
    Date: 2014–09–16
  6. By: Bhattacharya, Joydeep; Chakraborty, Shankha
    Abstract: Dominant paradigms of fertility choice either ignore or assume small, unchanging costof fertility limitation. Inspired by the historical English experience that is contrary to suchassumptions,we modify the Beckerian paradigm to incorporate costly, societal influence oncontraception. In the model economy, heterogeneous, generationally-linked householdschoose between “traditional†and “modern†contraception. The modern has a higher fixedcost (reflecting social opprobrium) but a lower variable cost of averting childbirths. Initially,the rich adopt the modern, and in doing so, unleash a social diffusion process. Eventuallyeveryone switches lowering fertility further and across society. What hastens the switch isthe decline in child mortality. The model is broadly consistent with important features ofthe English transition and has implications for more recent transitions.
    Keywords: Child mortality; Fertility; Demographic transition; contraception
    JEL: I12 J11 O40
    Date: 2014–10–22

This nep-evo issue is ©2014 by Matthew Baker. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.