nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2015‒02‒16
seven papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Evolution of cooperation in social dilemmas: signaling internalized norms By von Wangenheim, Georg; Müller, Stephan
  2. Is Africa Different? Historical Conflict and State Development By James Fenske; Mark Dinecco; Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato
  3. Fairness Concerns Revisited By Tahereh Rezaei Khavas; Stephanie Rosenkranz; Gustav Weitzel; Bastian Westbrock
  4. "Is Industrialization Conducive to Long-Run Prosperity?" By Raphael Franck; Oded Galor
  5. Predictably angry: Facial cues provide a credible signal of destructive behavior By Noussair, Charles N.; Offerman, Theo; Suetens, Sigrid; Van de Ven, Jeroen; Van Leeuwen, Boris; Van Veelen, Matthijs
  6. On the Origins of Dishonesty: From Parents to Children By Daniel Houser; John A. List; Marco Piovesan; Anya Savikhin Samek; Joachim Winter
  7. The ABC of Cooperation in Voluntary Contribution and Common Pool Extraction Games By Kölle, Felix; Gächter, Simon; Quercia, Simone

  1. By: von Wangenheim, Georg; Müller, Stephan
    Abstract: Economists have a long tradition in identifying the evolution of cooperation in large, unstructured societies as a puzzle. We suggest a new explanation for cooperation which avoids restrictions of most previous attempts. Our explanation deals with the role of internalized norms for cooperation in large unstructured populations. Even internalized norms, i.e. norms which alter the perceived utility from acting in a cooperative or in an uncooperative way, will not help to overcome a dilemma in an unstructured society, unless and this is the thrust of the current paper individuals are able to signal their property of being a norm bearer. Only when internalization of the norm may be communicated in a reliable way, the picture may change. We derive necessary and sufficient condition for cooperation to be part of an evolutionary stable equilibrium. These conditions relate signaling cost of norm-adopters and non-adopters, the strength of the social norm and parameter measuring the cost of cooperation.
    JEL: A13 D02 C21
    Date: 2014
  2. By: James Fenske; Mark Dinecco; Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato
    Abstract: We show that the long-run consequences of historical warfare are different for Sub-Saharan Africa than for the rest of the Old World.  We identify the locations of over 1,750 conflicts in Africa, Asia, and Europe from 1400 to 1799.  We find that historical warfare predicts greater state capacity today across the Old World, including in Sub-Saharan Africa.  There is no significant correlation between historical warfare and current civil conflicts across the rest of the Old World.  However, this correlation is strong and positive in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Thus, while a history of conflict predicts higher per capita GDP for the rest of the Old World, its positive consequence is overturned for Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Date: 2014–12–14
  3. By: Tahereh Rezaei Khavas; Stephanie Rosenkranz; Gustav Weitzel; Bastian Westbrock
    Abstract: Experimental economics has provided evidence for fairness concerns, but their relative strength and even their stability is still under debate. We reconcile the seemingly inconsistent results by presenting a theory of marginal fairness concerns. The key assumption is that fairness concerns are stable across various decision situations, but individuals care only marginally about other individuals’ payoffs. This produces inequitable outcomes when the decision situation is ’unfair’ but equitable outcomes when the structure itself is ’fair’. An experimental horse race with competing theories of pure selfishness, pure fairness, and power-/need-based norms, applied across a range of (a)symmetric and (in)transitive experimental decision settings, supports our theory: 80% of the subjects in our experiment appear to be at most marginally fairness concerned.
    Keywords: fairness, lab experiment, local public goods game, heterogeneous influence stracture
    Date: 2014–09
  4. By: Raphael Franck; Oded Galor
    Abstract: This research explores the long-run effect of industrialization on the process of development. In contrast to conventional wisdom that views industrial development as a catalyst for economic growth, highlighting its persistent effect on economic prosperity, the study establishes that while the adoption of industrial technology was initially conducive to economic development, it has had a detrimental effect on standards of living in the long-run. Exploiting exogenous source of regional variation in the adoption of steam engines during the French industrial revolution, the research establishes that regions which industrialized earlier experienced an increase in literacy rates more swiftly and generated higher income per capita in the subsequent decades. Nevertheless, early industrialization had an adverse effect on income per capita, employment and equality by the turn of the 21st century. This adverse effect reflects neither higher unionization and wage rates nor trade protection, but rather underinvestment in human capital and lower employment in skilled-intensive occupations. These findings suggest that the characteristics that permitted the onset of industrialization, rather than the adoption of industrial technology per se, have been the source of prosperity among the currently developed economies that experienced an early industrialization.
    Keywords: Economic Growth, Industrialization, Steam Engine bounded rationality.
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Noussair, Charles N.; Offerman, Theo; Suetens, Sigrid; Van de Ven, Jeroen; Van Leeuwen, Boris; Van Veelen, Matthijs
    Abstract: Evolutionary explanations of anger as a commitment device hinge on two key assumptions. The first is that it is observable ex-ante whether someone will get angry when feeling badly treated. The second is that anger is associated with destructive behavior. We test the validity of these assumptions by studying whether observers are able to detect who rejected a low offer in an ultimatum game. We collected photos and videos of responders in an ultimatum game before they were informed about the game that they would be playing. We showed pairs of photos or videos, consisting of one responder who rejected a low offer and one responder who accepted a low offer, to an independent group of observers. We find support for the two assumptions. Observers do better than chance at detecting who rejected the low offer, especially for rejecters who get angry at low offers.
    Keywords: anger, commitment, ultimatum game, laboratory experiment
    Date: 2014–11
  6. By: Daniel Houser; John A. List; Marco Piovesan; Anya Savikhin Samek; Joachim Winter
    Abstract: Acts of dishonesty permeate life. Understanding their origins, and what mechanisms help to attenuate such acts is an underexplored area of research. This study takes an economics approach to explore the propensity of individuals to act dishonestly across different economic environments. We begin by developing a simple model that highlights the channels through which one can increase or decrease dishonest acts. We lend empirical insights into this model by using an experiment that includes both parents and their young children as subjects. We find that the highest level of dishonesty occurs in settings where the parent acts alone and the dishonest act benefits the child rather than the parent. In this spirit, there is also an interesting effect of children on parents’ behavior: in the child’s presence, parents act more honestly, but there are gender differences. Parents act more dishonestly in front of sons than daughters. This finding has the potential of shedding light on the origins of the widely documented gender differences in cheating behavior observed among adults.
    JEL: C9 C91 C93
    Date: 2015–01
  7. By: Kölle, Felix; Gächter, Simon; Quercia, Simone
    Abstract: We study the nature of cooperation in the provision of public goods (a "Give" game) and the appropriation of a common resource (a "Take" game). We introduce the "abc-framework" to analyze how cooperative attitudes and beliefs determine cooperation. Our experimental results establish that Give and Take dilemmas are different games even under equivalent incentives. We find striking differences in attitudes: people are substantially less likely to cooperate conditionally in Take than Give. Our experiments and simulations show that attitudes and beliefs, rather than "framing effects", can explain the variation of cooperation observed in the literature. Our results also suggest that cooperation is harder in commons problems than in the provision of public goods.
    JEL: C92 H41 D03
    Date: 2014

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