nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2015‒05‒22
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. On the Historical Roots of Women’s Empowerment across Italian Provinces: Religion or Family Culture? By Monica Bozzano
  2. Social Interactions, the Evolution of Trust, and Economic Growth By Dimitrios Varvarigos; Guangyi Xin
  3. Geography, Cultural Remoteness and Economic Development: A Regional Analysis of the Economic Consequences of Insularity By C. S. Mastinu; M. Del Gatto
  4. The conceptualization and measurement of ethnic and religious divisions: categorical, temporal, and spatial dimensions with evidence from Mindanao, the Philippines By Rachel M. Gisselquist; Omar McDoom

  1. By: Monica Bozzano
    Abstract: In most developed countries the gender gap is nearly closing in the health and educational spheres while there is still sizeable gender inequality in the economic and political dimensions. Why do women’s economic decision-making and political empowerment vary so widely? What are the main potential determinants of such variations? In this paper we explore the association between two specific facets of women’s empowerment, the percentage of women holding office in local political bodies and the percentage of women in high-ranking jobs, with the cultural environment in which women make their career decisions. Our hypothesis is that culture, in particular those values embodied by religious culture, plays a central role in shaping norms and beliefs about the role and involvement of women in society. Moreover we suggest that these cultural norms are inherited from the past and therefore have a high degree of inertia. Over a cross section of Italian provincial data, both OLS and IV results indicate that our measures of women’s empowerment are strongly associated with religious culture, as proxied by religious marriages. These results are robust and consistent across specifications
    Keywords: women’s empowerment, politics, glass ceiling, religion, family culture, historical determinants
    JEL: J16 J7 N30 R1 Z10 Z12
    Date: 2015–04
  2. By: Dimitrios Varvarigos; Guangyi Xin
    Abstract: We present a model where the dynamics of trust and the process of capital accumulation are jointly determined. Trust evolves intergenerationally, as the process of social interactions with people from different backgrounds creates experiences and forms opinions that are bequeathed to the next generation, thus shaping their level of trust. The provision of public goods and services is also a supporting factor towards the formation of trust. A key result is the possibility of social segregation if the level of trust is below a critical threshold. As a result, long-run equilibria are path-dependent. Both the current level of trust and the current stock of capital are important in determining the economy’s long-term prospects.
    Keywords: Trust, Cultural Externalities, Economic Growth
    JEL: O41 Z13
    Date: 2015–05
  3. By: C. S. Mastinu; M. Del Gatto
    Abstract: We study the relationship between economic development, geography and “cultural remoteness” (i.e. distance from the technological frontier(s) driving economic development) at a regional level focusing on the role of “insularity”. The analysis covers all island regions worldwide and documents the presence of economic costs (measured in GDP per capita), due to insularity, in addition to those generally attributed to ‘geographical remoteness’. Cultural remoteness, either measured in terms of linguistic or ethnic distance, is not the only cause that explains these costs.
    Keywords: Insularity, geographic remoteness, economic development, cultural distance
    JEL: R58 R11 O21 O10
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Rachel M. Gisselquist; Omar McDoom
    Abstract: A large body of recent quantitative work on the ‘diversity detriment’ hypothesis finds that ethno-religious diversity is linked with a host of societal ills, implying in turn a strong challenge to multiculturalist theory and policies. Given the stakes, the appropriate conceptualization and measurement of ethno-religious divisions is a matter of considerable importance. This paper provides a synthetic critique of how major measures each capture the notion of ‘divisions’ and relate to each other conceptually and empirically within a divided society. Furthermore, instead of presenting temporal snapshots of divisions at the national level, as in most previous work on the topic, we explore how measures perform at more localized levels of analysis and over time, drawing on individual level census data from Mindanao, the Philippines. We highlight four conceptually ‘big’ issues we believe deserve emphasis and further investigation: the sensitivity of measures to the choice of construct, categorization methodology, passage of time, and spatial variation. We provide guidance and discuss the key implications of these points both for quantitative scholars working with these measures and for qualitatively inclined empiricists and normative theorists wishing to interpret, evaluate or otherwise engage with the quantitative research on the merits of diversity.
    Keywords: ethnicity; religion; ethnic diversity; ethnic divisions; ethnic fractionalization; ethnic polarization
    JEL: D70 J1 J15 N35
    Date: 2015–02

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