nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2014‒12‒19
seven papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Economic Growth By David de la CROIX
  2. Behavioral Economics of Education: Progress and Possibilities By Adam M. Lavecchia; Heidi Liu; Philip Oreopoulos
  3. Consequences of a universal European demographic transition on regional and global population distributions By Vegard Skirbekk; Marcin Stonawski; Guido Alfani
  4. Does culture matter for development ? By Lopez-Claros, Augusto; Perotti, Valeria
  5. The Relevance of Social Norms for Economic Efficiency: Theory and its Empirical Test By Anil Alpman
  6. Love thy neighbor: Religion and prosocial behavior By Heineck, Guido
  7. The behavioural economics of competitive balance: Implications for league policy and championship management By Budzinski, Oliver; Pawlowski, Tim

  1. By: David de la CROIX (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))
    Abstract: Abstract: The first challenge for economic growth theory is to understand the transition from stagnation to growth at the time of the Industrial Revolution and in particular to identify the main factor(s) that triggered the take-off. Doing so also helps to understand why there are poor and rich countries today, and whether the poorest ones will ultimately catch-up. This chapter reviews the main theories of growth, including the Malthus model (useful to understand stagnation), the neo-classical model where technical progress is the engine of growth, the endogenous growth model where growth is self-sustained and policy is of particular importance for the long-run, and unified growth theory, providing the big picture and linking the growth take-off to the demographic transition.
    Keywords: Stagnation, Capital, Fertility, Mortality, Education, Human Capital, Convergence, Poverty trap, Technical Progress, Decline, Inequality
    JEL: O40
    Date: 2014–10–31
  2. By: Adam M. Lavecchia; Heidi Liu; Philip Oreopoulos
    Abstract: Behavioral economics attempts to integrate insights from psychology, neuroscience, and sociology in order to better predict individual outcomes and develop more effective policy. While the field has been successfully applied to many areas, education has, so far, received less attention - a surprising oversight, given the field's key interest in long-run decision-making and the propensity of youth to make poor long-run decisions. In this chapter, we review the emerging literature on the behavioral economics of education. We first develop a general framework for thinking about why youth and their parents might not always take full advantage of education opportunities. We then discuss how these behavioral barriers may be preventing some students from improving their long-run welfare. We evaluate the recent but rapidly growing efforts to develop policies that mitigate these barriers, many of which have been examined in experimental settings. Finally, we discuss future prospects for research in this emerging field.
    JEL: D03 D87 I2 J24
    Date: 2014–10
  3. By: Vegard Skirbekk; Marcin Stonawski; Guido Alfani
    Abstract: During the demographic transition that in Europe tended to take place from the early 19th to the end of the 20th century, the population in European countries and its overseas offshoots increased by a factor of five or less, which is low compared to the increase now taking place in most other regions of the world. This study provides simulations showing what global and regional population sizes would be if the rest of the world experienced similar population growth patterns as were observed in Europe. European culture distinguished itself through choices that led to the European marriage pattern, characterized by late marriage, significant shares not marrying, low levels of extramarital childbearing, and comparatively low fertility. One important consequence was the relatively low population growth characterizing the cultures, religions, and ethno-linguistic groups where the European marriage pattern was dominant.
    Keywords: Demographic transition; demographic simulations; European marriage pattern; Europe; fertility; transition multiplier; nineteenth century; twentieth century; historical demography
    Date: 2014–11
  4. By: Lopez-Claros, Augusto; Perotti, Valeria
    Abstract: Economists have either avoided or struggled with the concept of culture and its role in economic development. Although a few theoretical works -- and even fewer empirical studies -- have appeared in the past decades, this paper tries to build on a multidisciplinary approach to review the evidence on whether and how culture matters for development. First, the paper reviews available definitions of culture and illustrates ways in which culture can change and create favorable conditions for economic development. Second, the paper discusses the challenges of separating the effect of culture from other drivers of human behavior such as incentives, the availability of information, or climate. Finally, the paper argues that globalization has led to the emergence of a set of progressive values that are common cultural traits of all developed economies.
    Keywords: Cultural Policy,Cultural Heritage&Preservation,Environmental Economics&Policies,Anthropology,Economic Theory&Research
    Date: 2014–11–01
  5. By: Anil Alpman (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: This paper proposes a new formulation of the theory of social norms. The theoretical model explores the interrelation between individuals' income, time-use and consumption decisions on the one hand, and the determinants of their decision to conform or not to social norms on the other. It is shown that rational consumers will obey inefficient social norms, which in turn will slow economic development. An empirical test of the model is performed for different categories of countries using a voluminous cross-country micro dataset. The results yield the gain and the cost of disobeying inefficient social norms, the latter of which can be used as a freedom indicator regarding social pressure.
    Keywords: Consumer theory; social norms; social interactions; household production model; economic efficiency
    Date: 2013–04
  6. By: Heineck, Guido
    Abstract: There is a long tradition in psychology, the social sciences and, more recently though, economics to hypothesize that religion enhances prosocial behavior. Evidence from both survey and experimental data however yield mixed results and there is barely any evidence for Germany. This study adds to this literature by exploring data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), which provides both attitudinal (importance of helping others, of being socially active) and behavioral components of prosociality (volunteering, charitable giving and blood donations). Results from analyses that avoid issues of reverse causality suggest mainly for moderate, positive effects of individuals' religious involvement as measured by church affiliation and church attendance. Despite the historic divide in religion, results in West and East Germany do not differ substantially.
    Keywords: Religion,prosocial behavior,Germany
    JEL: D64 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2014
  7. By: Budzinski, Oliver; Pawlowski, Tim
    Abstract: The theory of competitive balance represents one of the core concepts of sports economics. Based upon an international research project analyzing the perception of competitive balance by consumers (Pawlowski 2013a, 2013b; Pawlowski & Budzinski 2013, 2014), we argue in this paper that behavioural explanations of competitive balance may offer additional insights for selected sports economics and, in particular, sports policy problems, complementing the standard view on competitive balance. After summarizing the standard analysis of competitive balance in sports economics concerning theory, policy and empirical record in chapter 2, we report the main theoretical and empirical insights from our research project (chapter 3, closely drawing on the respective publications). In addition to providing a more comprehensive picture of the behavioural economics of competitive balance, we add a discussion of sports policy implications (chapter 4). While perceived competitive balance is found to matter, there are rather narrow conditions for sports policy interventions or restrictive regulations of competition by the league management (or sports associations). Furthermore, it is not the balance of the overall league that matters. Instead, it is sufficient or even advantageous if the most relevant subcompetitions, like the race for the championship or the fight against relegation, are 'balanced' among a narrow oligopoly of contenders.
    Keywords: sports economics,sports policy,sports management,competitive balance,behavioural economics,competitive balance defense
    JEL: D12 L83
    Date: 2014

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