nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2015‒04‒25
eight papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The Evolutionary Foundations of Economics By Jason Collins; Boris Baer; Ernst Juerg Weber
  2. Innovate or imitate? Behavioural Technological Change By Cars Hommes; Paolo Zeppini
  3. A Simple Model of Group Selection that cannot be analyzed with Inclusive Fitness By Matthijs van Veelen; Shishi Luo; Burton Simon
  4. The Great Divergence: A Network Approach By Ines Lindner; Holger Strulik
  5. STATE AND RELIGION OVER TIME By Metin M. Cosgel; Thomas J. Miceli; Sadullah Yıldırım; Matthew Histen
  6. The Impact of Fractionalization on Cultural Distance Measures By John M Luiz
  7. The height production function from birth to maturity By De Cao, Elisabetta
  8. Forbidden Fruits: The Political Economy of Science, Religion, and Growth By Roland Bénabou; Davide Ticchi; Andrea Vindigni

  1. By: Jason Collins (Business School, University of Western Australia); Boris Baer (Centre for Integrative Bee Research (CIBER) ARC CoE in Plant Energy Biology, University of Western Australia); Ernst Juerg Weber (Business School, University of Western Australia)
    Abstract: As human traits and preferences were shaped by natural selection, there is substantial potential for the use of evolutionary biology in economic analysis. In this paper, we review the extent to which evolutionary theory has been incorporated into economic research. We examine work in four areas: the evolution of preferences, the molecular genetic basis of economic traits, the interaction of evolutionary and economic dynamics, and the genetic foundations of economic development. These fields comprise a thriving body of research, but have significant scope of further investigation. In particular, the growing accessibility of low cost molecular data will create more opportunities for research on the relationship between molecular genetic information and economic traits.
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Cars Hommes (CeNDEF, University of Amsterdam); Paolo Zeppini (School of Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology)
    Abstract: We propose a behavioural model of technological change with evolutionary switching between boundedly rational costly innovators and free imitators, and study the endogenous interplay of innovation decisions, market price dynamics and technological progress. Innovation and imitation are strategic substitutes and exhibit negative feedback. Endogenous technological change is the cumulative outcome of innovation decisions. There are three scenarios: market breakdown, Schumpeterian rents and learning curves. The latter is characterized by an increasing fraction of innovators when demand is elastic, while inelastic demand allows technological progress with shrinking innovation effort. Model simulations are compared to empirical data of two industrial sectors.
    Keywords: discrete choice, innovation patterns, learning curves, switching behavior
    JEL: C62 C73 D21 O33
    Date: 2013–07–26
  3. By: Matthijs van Veelen (University of Amsterdam); Shishi Luo (Los Alamos National Laboratory, United States of America); Burton Simon (University of Colorado Denver, United States of America)
    Abstract: This discussion paper led to a publication in the <A href="">'Journal of Theoretical Biology'</A>, 2014, 360, 279-289.<P> A widespread claim in evolutionary theory is that every group selection model can be recast in terms of inclusive fitness. Although there are interesting classes of group selection models for which this is possible, we show that it is not true in general. With a simple set of group selection models, we show two distinct limitations that prevent recasting in terms of inclusive fitness. The first is a limitation across models. We show that if inclusive fitness is to always give the correct prediction, the definition of relatedness needs to change, continuously, along with changes in the parameters of the model. This results in infinitely many different definitions of relatedness - one for every parameter value - which strips relatedness of its meaning. The second limitation is across time. We show that one can find the trajectory for the group selection model by solving a partial differential equation, and that it is mathematically impossible to do this using inclusive fitness.
    Keywords: Group selection, inclusive fitness, kin selection, equivalence, social evolution
    JEL: C73
    Date: 2014–01–21
  4. By: Ines Lindner (VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands); Holger Strulik (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany)
    Abstract: We present a multi-country theory of economic growth in which countries are connected by a network of mutual knowledge exchange. Growth is generated through human capital accumulation and knowledge externalities. The available knowledge in any country depends on its connections to the rest of the world and on the human capital of the countries it is exchanging knowledge with. We show how the diffusion of knowledge through the world explains the evolution of global income inequality. It generates a "Great Divergence", that is increasing world inequality after the take-off of the forerunners of the industrial revolution, followed by a "Great Convergence", that is decreasing world inequality after the take-off of the latecomers of the industrial revolution. Knowledge diffusion through a Small World network produces an extraordinary diversity of individual growth e xperiences of initially identical countries including differentiated take-offs to growth as well as overtaking and falling behind in the course of world development.
    Keywords: networks, knowledge diffusion, economic growth, world income distribution
    JEL: O10 O40 D62 D85 F41
    Date: 2014–03–10
  5. By: Metin M. Cosgel (University of Connecticut); Thomas J. Miceli (University of Connecticut); Sadullah Yıldırım (University of Connecticut); Matthew Histen (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: State and religion, two of the oldest institutions known to mankind, have historically had a close relationship with each other, often joining forces to rule populations. Although the tendency towards secularization has hampered this relationship in recent centuries, the state-religion alliance remains strong in some societies. We use a political economy approach and a unique dataset to examine the relationship between state and religion since the year 1000. We constructed the data in two steps. We first gathered information on the political and religious characteristics of over five hundred polities observed throughout history. Then, using today’s nations as units of analysis, we tracked in 50-100 year intervals which polities have ruled in these lands since 1000. Combining the information from the two files, we built a cross-national panel dataset with three objectives. First, we examine the evolution of state religion over time and its variation across geographic regions and religious traditions. Second, we use regression analysis to examine the forces affecting the adoption of state religion during the period between 1000 and 2000. Finally, we narrow the focus to the continuing presence of official monopolies in the religion market and examine the historical roots of why state religions have survived in some societies while disappearing in others at the end of the twentieth century.
    Keywords: state, religion, legitimacy, political economy
    JEL: H10 P5 N4 Z12
    Date: 2015–04
  6. By: John M Luiz
    Abstract: We examine the impact of ethno-linguistic fractionalization (ELF) on existing cultural measures employed in various social sciences. Not only do high levels of fractionalization affect the use of statistical means to account for cultural distance, we show that it is not constant and therefore the dynamics of change need to be addressed. This provides us with an opportunity to bridge the cultural distance and institutional distance literature as institutions impact upon culture and MNEs, and institutional development is, in turn, affected by these. We call for a more realistic assessment of what is being captured in cultural measures and for recognition of the complexity of the notion of identity formation and its dynamics. Countries may have different underlying cultural schisms, including ELF, and its introduction will allow for a richer exploration of distance and diversity in the social sciences.
    Keywords: Cultural distance, entho-linguistic fractionalization, cultural measures
    JEL: Z10 M16 O10
    Date: 2015
  7. By: De Cao, Elisabetta (Groningen University)
    Date: 2014
  8. By: Roland Bénabou; Davide Ticchi; Andrea Vindigni
    Abstract: We analyze the joint dynamics of religious beliefs, scientific progress and coalitional politics along both religious and economic lines. History offers many examples of the recurring tensions between science and organized religion, but as part of the paper's motivating evidence we also uncover a new fact: in both international and cross-state U.S. data, there is a significant and robust negative relationship between religiosity and patents per capita. The political-economy model we develop has three main features: (i) the recurrent arrival of scientific discoveries that generate productivity gains but sometimes erode religious beliefs; (ii) a government, endogenously in power, that can allow such innovations to spread or instead censor them; (iii) a religious organization or sector that may invest in adapting the doctrine to new knowledge. Three long-term outcomes emerge. First, a "Secularization" or "Western-European" regime with declining religiosity, unimpeded science, a passive Church and high levels of taxes and transfers. Second, a "Theocratic" regime with knowledge stagnation, extreme religiosity with no modernization effort, and high public spending on religious public goods. In-between is a third, "American" regime that generally (not always) combines scientific progress and stable religiosity within a range where religious institutions engage in doctrinal adaptation. It features low overall taxes, together with fiscal advantages or societal laws benefiting religious citizens. Rising income inequality can, however, lead some of the rich to form a successful Religious-Right alliance with the religious poor and start blocking belief-eroding discoveries and ideas.
    JEL: E02 H11 H41 N0 O3 O43 P16 Z1 Z12
    Date: 2015–04

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