nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2015‒05‒02
five papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. "Heterogeneity and Productivity" By Quamrul Ashraf; Oded Galor; Marc Klemp
  2. The Evolution of a "Kantian Trait": Inferring from the Dictator Game By Lorenzo Cerda Planas
  3. Is Poverty in the African DNA (Gene)? By Simplice Asongu; Oasis Kodila-Tedika
  4. Economic Uncertainty, Parental Selection, and Children's Educational Outcomes By Chevalier, Arnaud; Marie, Olivier
  5. Religion and Innovation By Benabou, Roland; Ticchi, Davide; Vindigni, Andrea

  1. By: Quamrul Ashraf; Oded Galor; Marc Klemp
    Abstract: This research explores the effects of within-group heterogeneity on group-level productivity. It establishes that observed genetic diversity of 230 worldwide ethnic groups, as well as predicted genetic diversity of 1,331 ethnic groups across the globe, has a hump-shaped effect on economic prosperity, reflecting the trade-off between the beneficial and the detrimental effects of diversity on productivity. Moreover, the study demonstrates that variations in within-ethnic-group genetic diversity across ethnic groups contribute to ethnic and thus regional variation in economic development within a country.
    Keywords: Heterogeneity, Regional Development, Out-of-Africa Hypothesis, Comparative Development, Genetic Diversity, Nighttime Light Intensity
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Lorenzo Cerda Planas (Paris School of Economics - Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is twofold. Starting from the population dynamics literature, which usually finds the resulting distribution of a trait in a population, according to some parents' preferences, I answer the inverted question: Which preference function would yield into a given trait distribution? I solve this using a continuous trait, instead of finite types of agents. Using this result, I connect this transmission theory of social traits with the well-known results of Dictator Game (DG) experiments. I use a specific definition of a Kantian trait applied to DG results, and determine the distribution of this trait that is commonly found in these experiments. With these two ingredients, I show that homo-oeconomicus parents have a greater' dislike' or disutility of having offspring with different traits from them compared to their Kantian counterparts. This could be a result of myopic empathy being stronger in homo-oeconomicus parents, driving this dislike of difference
    Keywords: Population dynamics; Kantian morale; evolutionary equilibrium
    JEL: C62 C63 C73 C61 D64
    Date: 2015–03
  3. By: Simplice Asongu (Yaoundé/Cameroun); Oasis Kodila-Tedika (Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo)
    Abstract: A 2015 World Bank report on attainment of Millennium Development Goals concludes that the number of extremely poor has dropped substantially in all regions with the exception of Sub-Saharan Africa. We assess if poverty is in the African gene by revisiting the findings of Ashraf and Galor (2013, AER) and reformulating the ‘Out of Africa Hypothesis’ into a ‘Genetic Diversity Hypothesis’ for a ‘Within Africa Analysis’. We motivate this reformulation with five shortcomings arising for the most part from the 2015 findings of the African Gerome Variation Project, notably: limitations in the concept of space, African dummy in genetic diversity, linearity in migratory patterns, migratory origins and underpinnings of genetic diversity in Africa. Ashraf and Galor have concluded that cross-country differences in development can be explained by genetic diversity in a Kuznets pattern. Our results from an exclusive African perspective confirm the underlying hypothesis in a contemporary context, but not in the historical analysis. From a historical context, the nexus is U-shaped for migratory distance, mobility index and predicted diversity while for the contemporary analysis; it is hump-shaped for ancestry-adjusted predicted diversity. Hence, poverty is not in the African gene from a within-Africa comparative standpoint. Policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: Africa; Genetic diversity; Comparative economic development
    JEL: N10 N30 N50 O10 O50 Z10
    Date: 2015–04
  4. By: Chevalier, Arnaud (IZA); Marie, Olivier (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: After the fall of the Berlin Wall, East Germany experienced an unprecedented temporary drop in fertility driven by economic uncertainty. Using various educational measures, we show that the children born during this nativity slump perform worse from an early age onwards. Consistent with negative selection, mothers who gave birth in that period had worse observed personal characteristics. These children are also less likely to have grown up within stable family environment. Investigating underlying mechanisms reveals that parental educational input and emotional attachment were also lower for these children. Finally, sibling analysis enables us to reject time of birth effects.
    Keywords: parental selection, fertility, economic uncertainty, education
    JEL: J13 I20
    Date: 2015–04
  5. By: Benabou, Roland (Princeton University); Ticchi, Davide (IMT Lucca); Vindigni, Andrea (IMT Lucca)
    Abstract: In earlier work (Bénabou, Ticchi and Vindigni 2013) we uncovered a robust negative association between religiosity and patents per capita, holding across countries as well as US states, with and without controls. In this paper we turn to the individual level, examining the relationship between religiosity and a broad set of pro- or anti-innovation attitudes in all five waves of the World Values Survey (1980 to 2005). We thus relate eleven indicators of individual openness to innovation, broadly defined (e.g., attitudes toward science and technology, new versus old ideas, change, risk taking, personal agency, imagination and independence in children) to five different measures of religiosity, including beliefs and attendance. We control for all standard socio-demographics as well as country, year and denomination fixed effects. Across the fifty-two estimated specifications, greater religiosity is almost uniformly and very significantly associated to less favorable views of innovation.
    Keywords: innovation, creativity, science, technical progress, ideas, risk-taking, growth, religion, beliefs, attitudes, values, tolerance, dogma, culture
    JEL: D83 O31 O43 Z1 Z12
    Date: 2015–04

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