nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2015‒12‒20
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Evolution-Based Approaches in Economics and Evolutionary Loss of Information By Heinrich, Torsten
  2. Honesty and beliefs about honesty in 15 countries By David Hugh-Jones
  3. Ways to measure honesty: A new experiment and two questionnaires By David Hugh-Jones
  4. Did Gender-Bias Matter in the Quantity- Quality Trade-off in the 19th Century France ? By Claude Diebolt; Tapas Mishra; Faustine Perrin

  1. By: Heinrich, Torsten
    Abstract: Evolutionary economics provides a self-organizing stabilizing mechanism without relying on mechanic equilibria. However, there are substantial differences between the genetic evolutionary biology, and the evolution of institutions, firms, routines or strategies in economics. Most importantly, there is no genetic codification and no sexual reproduction in economic evolution, and the involved agents can interfere consciously and purposefully. This entails a general lack of fixation and perhaps the quick loss of information through a Muller's ratchet like mechanism. The present contribution discusses the analogy of evolution in biology and economics and considers potential problems resulting in evolutionary models in economics.
    Keywords: evolutionary economics; evolutionary loss of information; error catastrophe; resilience
    JEL: B25 B52 O33
    Date: 2015–12–14
  2. By: David Hugh-Jones (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: The honesty of resident nationals of 15 countries was measured in two experiments: reporting a coin flip with a reward for "heads", and an online quiz with the possibility of cheating. There are large differences in honesty across countries. Average honesty correlates with per capita GDP: this relationship is driven mostly by GDP differences arising before 1950, rather than by GDP growth since 1950, suggesting that the growth-honesty relationship was more important in earlier periods than today. The experiment also elicited participants' beliefs about honesty in different countries. Beliefs were not correlated with reality. Instead they appear to be driven by cognitive biases, including self-projection.
    Date: 2015–09–25
  3. By: David Hugh-Jones (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: I report on the validity of different measures of honest behaviour. Subjects from 15 countries took part in two web-based experiments: a coin flip with a reward for reporting "heads", and a quiz with the possibility of cheating. Participants also answered questions on moral attitudes, and on unethical real world behaviour. Honesty in the two experiments was correlated, and correlated with self-reports of behaviour. Answers to the attitudes questions did not correlate with the experimental measures or self-reported behaviour. The quiz experiment provides a useful way to measure individual honesty in an online setting.
    Keywords: honesty, lying, experiment, questionnaire
    JEL: D82 C93 C42 Z13
    Date: 2015–08–15
  4. By: Claude Diebolt; Tapas Mishra; Faustine Perrin
    Abstract: Recent theoretical developments of growth models, especially on unified theories of growth, suggest that the child quantity-quality trade-off has been a central element of the transition from Malthusian stagnation to sustained growth. Using an original censusbased dataset, this paper explores the role of gender on the trade-off between education and fertility across 86 French counties during the nineteenth century, as an empirical extension of Diebolt-Perrin (2013). We first test the existence of the child quantity-quality trade-off in 1851. Second, we explore the long-run effect of education on fertility from a gendered approach. Two important results emerge: (i) significant and negative association between education and fertility is found, and (ii) such a relationship is non-unique over the distribution of education/fertility. While our results suggest the existence of a negative and significant effect of the female endowments in human capital on the fertility transition, the effects of negative endowment almost disappear at low level of fertility.
    Keywords: Cliometrics, Education, Fertility, Demographic Transition, Unified growth theory, Nineteenth century France.
    JEL: C22 C26 C32 C36 C81 C82 I20 J13 N01 N33
    Date: 2015

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