nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2015‒05‒16
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Adult Mortality and Modern Growth By Davide Fiaschi; Tamara Fioroni
  2. Long-Run Cultural Divergence: Evidence From the Neolithic Revolution By Olsson, Ola; Paik, Christopher
  3. Homophily and Triadic Closure in Evolving Social Networks By Irene Crimaldi; Michela Del Vicario; Greg Morrison; Walter Quattrociocchi; Massimo Riccaboni
  4. Over-aging - Are present human populations too old? By Robert Stelter

  1. By: Davide Fiaschi (Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), Università di Pisa); Tamara Fioroni (Department of Economics (University of Verona))
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze the relationship between (adult) mortality and the long-run development of countries from an empirical and theoretical perspective. A quantitative exploration of the model shows that improvements in adult survival rates alone bring an economy towards a Malthusian regime in the long run, while a transition from a Malthusian to a modern regime requires substantial advances in technological progress. Limited gains in technological progress associated with a strong decline in adult mortality can produce a sort of “false” take-off, i.e. an economy passed from a Malthusian to a pre-modern regime can be pushed back by the increasing demographic pressures.
    Keywords: Unified Growth Theory, Human Capital, Adult mortality, Non-linear Dynamics, Endogenous Fertility, Industrial Revolution
    JEL: O10 O40 I20
    Date: 2015–05
  2. By: Olsson, Ola (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Paik, Christopher (NYU Abu Dhabi)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the long-run influence of the Neolithic Revolution on contemporary cultural norms and institutions as reflected in the imension of collectivism-individualism. We outline an agricultural origins-model of cultural divergence where we claim that the advent of farming in a core region was characterized by collectivist values and eventually triggered the out-migration of individualistic farmers towards more and more peripheral areas. This migration pattern caused the initial cultural divergence, which remained persistent over generations. The key mechanism is demonstrated in an extended Malthusian growth model that explicitly models cultural dynamics and a migration choice for individualistic farmers. Using detailed data on the date of adoption of Neolithic agriculture among Western regions and countries, the empirical findings show that the regions which adopted agriculture early also value obedience more and feel less in control of their lives. They have also had very little experience of democracy during the last century. The findings add to the literature by suggesting the possibility of extremely long lasting norms and beliefs influencing today's socioeconomic outcomes.<p>
    Keywords: Neolithic agriculture; comparative development; Western reversal
    JEL: N50 O43
    Date: 2015–05
  3. By: Irene Crimaldi (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies); Michela Del Vicario (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies); Greg Morrison (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies); Walter Quattrociocchi (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies); Massimo Riccaboni (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies)
    Abstract: We present a new network model accounting for homophily and triadic closure in the evolution of social networks. In particular, in our model, each node is characterized by a number of features and the probability of a link between two nodes depends on common features. The bipartite network of the actors and features evolves according to a dynamics that depends on three parame-ters that respectively regulate the preferential attachment in the transmission of the features to the nodes, the number of new features per node, and the power-law behavior of the total number of observed features. We provide theoretical results and statistical estimators for the parameters of the model. We validate our approach by means of simulations and an empirical analysis of a network of scientifc collaborations.
    Keywords: social network, bipartite network, preferential attachment, homophily triadic closure, transitivity
    JEL: C13 C18 Z13
    Date: 2015–05
  4. By: Robert Stelter (UNIVERSITY OF ROSTOCK, Institute for Economics, Chair for Business Cycles and Growth and UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))
    Abstract: This paper investigates the problem of an "optimum population" concerning age structures in a 3-period OLG-model with endogenous fertility and longevity. The first-best solution for a number-dampened total social welfare function, including Millian and Benthamite utilitarianism as two extreme cases, identifies the optimal age structure, generally failed in laissez-faire economies. As individuals don't internalize effects of longevity on life-cycle income, they overinvest in health. Additionally, they choose a non-optimal number of offspring. A calibration exercise for 80 countries emphasizes that an over-aging of populations crucially depends on social preferences and observed age structures. Interestingly, we find that in contrast to taxes on health expenditures, taxes or subsidies on children to decentralize the first-best solution are sensitive to social preferences.
    Keywords: endogenous fertility; adult mortality; optimal age structure; over-aging; optimal taxation
    JEL: H20 I10 J18
    Date: 2015–05–03

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