nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2015‒05‒30
eight papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. A Reformulation of Normative Economics for Models with Endogenous Preferences By Vipul Bhatt; Masao Ogaki; Yuichi Yaguchi
  2. Does It Matter Where You Came From? Ancestry Composition and Economic Performance of U.S. Counties, 1850-2010 By Fulford, Scott L.; Petkov, Ivan; Schiantarelli, Fabio
  3. Economic Development In Africa And Europe : Reciprocal Comparisons By Broadberry, Stephen; Gardner, Leigh
  4. Social preferences, culture and corruption By Jiang, T.
  5. Human capital and long run economic growth : Evidence from the stock of human capital in England, 1300-1900 By de Pleijt, Alexandra M.
  6. A tale of paradigm clash: Simon, situated cognition and the interpretation of bounded rationality By Petracca, Enrico
  7. Japan and the Great Divergence, 725-1874 By Bassino, Jean-Pascal; Broadberry, Stephen; Fukao, Kyoji; Gupta, Bishnupriya; Takashima, Masanori
  8. The Indigenous Roots of Representative Democracy By Jeanet Bentzen; Jacob Gerner Hariri; James A. Robinson

  1. By: Vipul Bhatt (James Madison University); Masao Ogaki (Keio University); Yuichi Yaguchi (Chuo University)
    Abstract: This paper proposes a framework to balance considerations of welfarism and virtue ethics in the normative analysis of economic models with endogenous preferences. We introduce the moral evaluation function (MEF), which ranks alternatives based purely on virtue ethics, and define the social objective function (SOF), which combines the Social Welfare Function (SWF) and the MEF. In a model of intergenerational altruism with endogenous time preference, using numerical simulations we show that maximizing the SWF may not yield a socially desirable state if the society values virtue. This problem can be resolved by using the SOF to evaluate alternative social states.
    Date: 2015–02
  2. By: Fulford, Scott L. (Boston College); Petkov, Ivan (Boston College); Schiantarelli, Fabio (Boston College)
    Abstract: The United States provides a unique laboratory for understanding how the cultural, institutional, and human capital endowments of immigrant groups shape economic outcomes. In this paper, we use census micro-sample information to reconstruct the country-of-ancestry distribution for US counties from 1850 to 2010. We also develop a county-level measure of GDP per capita over the same period. Using this novel panel data set, we investigate whether changes in the ancestry composition of a county matter for local economic development and the channels through which the cultural, institutional, and educational legacy of the country of origin affects economic outcomes in the US. Our results show that the evolution of the country-of-origin composition of a county matters. Moreover, the culture, institutions, and human capital that the immigrant groups brought with them and pass on to their children are positively associated with local development in the US. Among these factors, measures of culture that capture attitudes towards cooperation play the most important and robust role. Finally, our results suggest that while fractionalization of ancestry groups is positively related with county GDP, fractionalization in attributes such as trust, is negatively related to local economic performance.
    Keywords: immigration, ethnicity, ancestry, economic development, culture, institutions, human capital
    JEL: J15 N31 N32 O10 Z10
    Date: 2015–05
  3. By: Broadberry, Stephen (London School of Economics); Gardner, Leigh (London School of Economics and Stellenbosch University,)
    Abstract: Recent advances in historical national accounting have allowed for global comparisons of GDP per capita across space and time. Critics have argued that GDP per capita fails to capture adequately the effects of new technology on living standards, and have developed alternative measures such as the human development index (HDI). Whilst recognising that this provides an appropriate measure for assessing levels of welfare, we argue that GDP per capita remains a more appropriate measure for assessing development potential, encompassing production as well as consumption. Twentieth-century Africa and pre-industrial Europe are used to show how such data can guide reciprocal comparisons to provide insights into the process of development on both continents.
  4. By: Jiang, T. (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: Neoclassical economics more or less postulates that agents tend to maximize their own narrow self-interests and will hence break the law if the gains outweigh the costs of potential punishment. In this thesis, I argue that more understandings of corruption can be obtained incorporating insights from behavioral economics such as the postulates of social preferences. To understand why, and in what context, an individual decides to be corrupt, and in what context, it is helpful to recognize that economic agents care about not only their own narrow-interests, but also others’ payoff consequences as well as their moral image. I argue that the characteristics of other regarding preferences (synonymously as social preferences in Economics, and social value<br/>orientation in Psychology) are relevant factors of decision-making in general, and corrupt decision making is no exception. More effective policies can be designed if we gain more realistic behavioral insights.<br/>
    Date: 2015
  5. By: de Pleijt, Alexandra M. (Utrecht University)
    Abstract: Did human capital contribute to economic growth in England? In this paper the stock of total years of schooling present in the population between 1300 and 1900 is quantified. The stock incorporates extensive source material on literacy rates, the number of primary and secondary schools and enrolment figures. The trends in the data suggest that, whilst human capital facilitated pre-industrial economic development, it had no role to play during the Industrial Revolution itself: there was a strong decline in educational attainment between ca. 1750 and 1830. A time series analysis has been carried out that confirms this conclusion.
    Keywords: Human capital ; Industrial Revolution ; economic growth ; England JEL classification: N10 ; N30 ; O47 ; O57
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Petracca, Enrico
    Abstract: The intellectual figure of Herbert A. Simon is well known for having introduced the influential notion of bounded rationality in economics. Less known, at least from the economists’ point of view, is the figure of Simon as eminent cognitive psychologist, co-founder of so-called cognitivism, a mainstream approach in cognitive psychology until the 80s of the last century. In fact, the two faces of Simon’s intellectual figure, as rationality scholar and as cognitive scientist, are not factorizable at all: according to Simon himself, cognitivism is bounded rationality and bounded rationality is cognitivism. This paper tries to answer a simple research question: has the notion of bounded rationality fully followed the development of cognitive psychology beyond cognitivism in the post-Simonian era? If not, why? To answer such questions, this paper focuses on a very specific historical episode. In 1993, on the pages of the journal Cognitive Science, Simon (with his colleague Alonso Vera) openly confronted the proponents of a new (paradigmatic) view of cognition called situated cognition, a firm challenger of cognitivism, which was going to inspire cognitive psychology from then on. This paper claims that this tough confrontation, typical of a paradigm shift, might have prevented rationality studies in economics from coming fully in touch with the new paradigm in cognitive psychology. A reconstruction of the differences between cognitivism and situated cognition as they emerged in the confrontation is seen here as fundamental in order to assess and explore this hypothesis.
    Keywords: Herbert A. Simon; bounded rationality; situated cognition theory; economics and cognitive psychology
    JEL: B31 B41 D03 D80
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Bassino, Jean-Pascal (IAO, ENS de Lyon); Broadberry, Stephen (London School of Economics); Fukao, Kyoji (Hitotsubashi University); Gupta, Bishnupriya (University of Warwick); Takashima, Masanori (Hitotsubashi University)
    Abstract: Japanese GDP per capita grew at an annual rate of 0.04 per cent between 725 and 1874, but the growth was episodic, with the increase in per capita income concentrated in three periods, 1150-1280, 1450-1600 and after 1730, interspersed with periods of stable per capita income. There is a similarity here with the growth pattern of Britain. The first countries to achieve modern economic growth at opposite ends of Eurasia thus shared the experience of an early end to growth reversals. However, Japan started at a lower level than Britain and grew more slowly until the Meiji Restoration.
    Keywords: Japan ; Great Divergence ; GDP per capita ; growth reversals ; Britain JEL classification: N10 ; N30 ; N35 ; O10 ; O57
  8. By: Jeanet Bentzen; Jacob Gerner Hariri; James A. Robinson
    Abstract: We document that rules for leadership succession in ethnic societies that antedate the modern state predict contemporary political regimes; leadership selection by election in indigenous societies is associated with contemporary representative democracy. The basic association, however, is conditioned on the relative strength of the indigenous groups within a country; stronger groups seem to have been able to shape national regime trajectories, weaker groups do not. This finding extends and qualifies a substantive qualitative literature, which has found in local democratic institutions of medieval Europe a positive impulse towards the development of representative democracy. It shows that contemporary regimes are shaped not only by colonial history and European influence; indigenous history also matters. For practitioners, our findings suggest that external reformers' capacity for regime-building should not be exaggerated.
    JEL: D72 N4 P16
    Date: 2015–05

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