nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2014‒11‒22
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Endogenous Growth and Demographic Transition in a model of Cultural Transmission By Zakharenko, Roman
  2. Gender and economic preferences in a large random sample By Boschini, Anne; Dreber, Anna; von Essen, Emma; Muren, Astri; Ranehill, Eva
  3. The Synthesis of Economic Law, Evolution, and History By Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont
  4. Cultural Diversity and Cultural Distance as Choice Determinants of Migration Destination By Zhiling Wang; Thomas de Graaff; Peter Nijkamp
  5. Beauty, Polygyny, and Fertility: Theory and Evidence By Cahu, Paul; Fall, Falilou; Pongou, Roland
  6. The evolution of common law: revisiting Posner, Hayek & the economic analysis of Law By Ojo, Marianne

  1. By: Zakharenko, Roman
    Abstract: Demographic transition theory is developed highlighting cultural transmission pattern as key driver. Individuals maximize cultural fitness, i.e. rate of own cultural type absorbtion by future generations. With low population density, one's culture can be picked up only by own children, thus cultural fitness equals genetic fitness, individuals allocate all energy surplus to reproduction, and Malthusian regime occurs. With rising population density, cultural transmission between non-relatives accelerates; knowledge production by an individual makes her culture more attractive. Individuals reallocate some of energy surplus from reproduction to knowledge production, causing technological growth. The model fits observed demographic transition patterns.
    Keywords: Endogenous growth, Cultural transmission, Demographic transition
    JEL: J11 O44 Z19
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Boschini, Anne (Linköping University); Dreber, Anna (Stockholm School of Economics); von Essen, Emma (Aarhus University); Muren, Astri (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University); Ranehill, Eva (University of Zurich)
    Abstract: We explore gender differences in preferences related to altruism, fairness, cooperation, trust, coordination, risk and competitiveness in an experiment with a large random sample of the Swedish population. In addition to a baseline treatment, we have treatments where participants are primed with their gender or know the counterpart’s gender. We find no behavioral differences between treatments, but some gender differences within specific treatments: men are in some instances less generous, more trusting, and more competitive than women. Aside from a lack of gender differences in risk taking, our results are roughly in line with previous literature.
    Keywords: Gender differences; Random sample; Social preferences; Risk-taking; Competitiveness; Dictator games; Priming; Experiment
    JEL: C91 C93 J16
    Date: 2014–10–23
  3. By: Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont
    Abstract: It has long been criticized that history is almost entirely absent from orthodox economics. This deficiency is due to the fact that equilibrium and time make an odd couple. Because equilibrium is one of the crucial hard-core propositions of the research program it cannot be abandoned. This impedes the treatment of time in a methodologically acceptable manner. The orthodox approach is based on indefensible axioms which are in this paper replaced by objective structural axioms. This enables the synthesis of timeless economic laws, randomness, and goal-oriented human action, which are the essential elements of a formally consistent historical account.
    Keywords: new framework of concepts; structure-centric; axiom set; cumulative causation; First Economic Law; Period Core; propensity function
    JEL: B49 B59 E17
    Date: 2014–09–24
  4. By: Zhiling Wang; Thomas de Graaff; Peter Nijkamp (VU University Amsterdam)
    Abstract: This study analyses the impact of cultural composition on regional attractiveness from the perspective of migrant sorting behaviour. We use an attitudinal survey to quantify cultural distances between natives and immigrants in the area concerned, and estimate the migrants’ varying preferences for both cultural diversity and cultural distance. To account for regional unobserved heterogeneity, our econometric analysis employs artificial instrumental variables, as developed by Bayer et al. (2004). The main conclusions are twofold. On the one hand, cultural diversity increases regional attractiveness. On the other hand, average cultural distance greatly weakens regional attractiveness, even when the presence of network effect is controlled for.
    Keywords: migration, cultural diversity, cultural distance, destination choice, sorting
    JEL: R2 Z1
    Date: 2014–06–02
  5. By: Cahu, Paul; Fall, Falilou; Pongou, Roland
    Abstract: We propose a simple model of a mating economy in both monogamous and polygynous cultures, and derive implications for how polygyny affects individual and aggregate fertility. We find that an attractive woman is more likely to find a high-status husband. However, when polygyny is allowed, high-status husbands naturally attract other women; this implies that female beauty increases the likelihood of entering into a polygynous relationship. A woman in a polygynous relationship produces fewer children than a woman in a monogamous relationship as long as the preference for reproduction relative to consumption is not too strong. However, the societal practice of polygyny increases aggregate fertility through two distinct channels: (1) by increasing the number of marriages; and (2) by triggering fertility contagion: a woman, whether involved in a monogamous or polygynous relationship, produces more children as polygyny becomes more prevalent in her neighborhood. We empirically validate each of the model's key predictions.
    Keywords: Mating Economy, Monogamy, Polygyny, Beauty, Status, Fertility, Contagion, Networks
    JEL: A1 A13 C7 C78 J1 J12 J13 Z1 Z10
    Date: 2014–09–01
  6. By: Ojo, Marianne
    Abstract: This paper is aimed at highlighting how common law has evolved over the centuries, namely through the flexibility accorded to judicial precedents, as well as through the evolutionary nature evidenced in the processes and rules applied in statutory interpretation. In addition to illustrating how informational asymmetries can be mitigated through decentralisation, the paper also illustrates how a particular case, Pepper v Hart has revolutionised the scope and permissibility of aids to statutory interpretation. Whilst the decision in the case has been criticised as having facilitated a transfer of powers from the executive and legislature, to the judiciary, it is also evident that any form of aid to statutory interpretation - which would greatly assist judges in arriving at reasonable outcomes - in terms of legitimate expectations and efficient allocation of economic resources, should be permitted in judicial proceedings. Whilst financial markets and changes in the environment impact legislators, and whilst it is widely accepted that legislation constitutes the supreme form of law, the necessity for judges to introduce a certain level of flexibility will also contribute towards ensuring that legitimate expectations of involved parties are achieved - particularly where the construction of the words within a statute gives rise to considerable ambiguity.
    Keywords: legitimate expectations; certainty; flexibility; judicial precedents; statutory interpretation; allocative efficiency, Pepper v Hart; Posner; Hayek; common law
    JEL: E3 G1 G14 G18 K2
    Date: 2014–10–08

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