nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2016‒04‒23
eight papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. "The Macrogenoeconomics of Comparative Development" By Quamrul Ashraf; Oded Galor
  2. The New Economics of Religion By Sriya Iyer; ; ;
  3. Abordagem multidisciplinar na teoria da decisão: psicologia evolucionária e economia By Lizia de Figueirêdo
  4. Culture, Diffusion, and Economic Development By Harutyunyan, Ani; Özak, Ömer
  5. Social Mobility and Stability of Democracy: Re-evaluating De Tocqueville By Acemoglu, Daron; Egorov, Georgy; Sonin, Konstantin
  6. The Child Quality-Quantity Tradeoff, England, 1780-1880: A Fundamental Component of the Economic Theory of Growth is Missing By Clark, Gregory; Cummins, Neil
  7. The Stages of Economic Growth Revisited, Part 2: Catching Up to and Joining the Economic Leader By Kehoe, Timothy J.; Costa, Daniela; Raveendranathan, Gajen
  8. Changes in the Iranian Families during the Achaemenid Era By MAHMOOD SEYYED; MOHAMMAD AKVAN; Mahnaz Babaei Tooski

  1. By: Quamrul Ashraf; Oded Galor
    Abstract: A vibrant literature has emerged in recent years to explore the influences of human evolution and the genetic composition of populations on the comparative economic performance of societies, highlighting the roles played by the Neolithic Revolution and the prehistoric “out of Africa” migration of anatomically modern humans in generating worldwide variations in the composition of genetic traits across populations. The recent attempt by Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History to expose the evolutionary origins of comparative economic development to a wider audience provides an opportunity to review this important literature in the context of his theory.
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Sriya Iyer; ; ;
    Abstract: The economics of religion is a relatively new field of research in economics. This survey serves two purposes – it is backward-looking in that it traces the historical and sociological origins of this field, and it is forward-looking in that it examines the insights and research themes that are offered by economists to investigate religion globally in the modern world. Several factors have influenced the economics of religion: (1) new developments in theoretical models including spatial models of religious markets and evolutionary models of religious traits; (2) empirical work which addresses innovatively econometric identification in examining causal influences on religious behavior; (3) new research in the economic history of religion that considers religion as an independent rather than as a dependent variable; and (4) more studies of religion outside the Western world. Based on these developments, this paper discusses four themes – first, secularization, pluralism, regulation and economic growth; second, religious markets, club goods, differentiated products and networks; third, identification including secular competition and charitable giving; and fourth, conflict and cooperation in developing societies. In reviewing this paradoxically ancient yet burgeoning field, this paper puts forward unanswered questions for scholars of the economics of religion to reflect upon in years to come.
    Date: 2015–01–01
  3. By: Lizia de Figueirêdo (Cedeplar-UFMG)
    Abstract: We claim that there must be and interdisciplinary approach in discussing individual decisions, combining Evolutionary Psychology, Neuroscience and Economics (and other Social Sciences). The new approach requires change in the methodology of Economics and a strong review of decision theory. On the other hand, Economics can help Evolutionary Psychology through the characterization of the environment and to define modern human aims. We propose a method to approach a “microeconomic” problem, considering that the time span is small for environmental changes.
    Keywords: rationality, ecological rationality, gene-culture interaction, Economic Methodology
    JEL: A12 B4 D01 D03 D87
    Date: 2016–04
  4. By: Harutyunyan, Ani; Özak, Ömer
    Abstract: This research explores the effects of culture on technological diffusion and economic development. It shows that culture's direct effects on development and barrier effects to technological diffusion are, in general, observationally equivalent. In particular, using a large set of cultural measures, it establishes empirically that pairwise differences in contemporary development are associated with pairwise cultural differences relative to the technological frontier, only in cases where observational equivalence holds. Additionally, it establishes that differences in cultural traits that are correlated with genetic and linguistic distances are statistically and economically significantly correlated with differences in economic development. These results highlight the difficulty of disentangling the direct and barrier effects of culture, while lending credence to the idea that common ancestry generates persistence and plays a central role in economic development.
    Keywords: Comparative economic development, economic growth, culture, barriers to technological diffusion, genetic distances, linguistic distances
    JEL: O10 O11 O20 O33 O40 O47 O57 Z10
    Date: 2016–04–04
  5. By: Acemoglu, Daron; Egorov, Georgy; Sonin, Konstantin
    Abstract: An influential thesis often associated with De Tocqueville views social mobility as a bulwark of democracy: when members of a social group expect to join the ranks of other social groups in the near future, they should have less reason to exclude these other groups from the political process. In this paper, we investigate this hypothesis using a dynamic model of political economy. As well as formalizing this argument, our model demonstrates its limits, elucidating a robust theoretical force making democracy less stable in societies with high social mobility: when the median voter expects to move up (respectively down), she would prefer to give less voice to poorer (respectively richer) social groups. Our theoretical analysis shows that in the presence of social mobility, the political preferences of an individual depend on the potentially conflicting preferences of her "future selves", and that the evolution of institutions is determined through the implicit interaction between occupants of the same social niche at different points in time. When social mobility is endogenized, our model identifies new political economic forces limiting the amount of mobility in society - because the middle class will lose out from mobility at the bottom and because a peripheral coalition between the rich and the poor may oppose mobility at the top.
    Keywords: De Tocqueville; democracy; dynamics.; institutions; Social mobility; stability
    JEL: D71 D74
    Date: 2016–04
  6. By: Clark, Gregory; Cummins, Neil
    Abstract: In recent theorizing, modern economic growth was created by substituting child quality for quantity. However evidence for this tradeoff is minimal. In England the Industrial Revolution occurred in a period 1780-1879 of substantial human capital investment, but no fertility control, huge random variation in family sizes, and uncorrelated family size and parent quality. Yet family size variation had little effect on educational attainment, occupational status, or longevity, for both prosperous and poor families. More children reduced inherited wealth, but even that effect largely disappeared by the next generation. There is no quality-quantity tradeoff. Growth theory must proceed in other directions.
    Keywords: Economic Growth; Human Capital; Quality-Quantity Tradeoff
    Date: 2016–04
  7. By: Kehoe, Timothy J. (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis); Costa, Daniela (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis); Raveendranathan, Gajen (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)
    Abstract: Rostow (1960) hypothesized that taking off into economic growth was a difficult task for countries in the 19th century, requiring major changes in institutions. In the 20th century, however, as the United States and other advanced countries became richer because of improvements in technologies and managerial practices, it became easier for poor countries to take off into rapid growth by adopting some of these improvements. {{p}} We hypothesize that, while taking off is now easier, the difficult transition is now from take-off to catch-up, where nations grow closer to the economic leader (now the United States). Doing so often requires major reforms in policies and institutions. Data suggest that when countries reach the limits imposed by their policies and institutions, their growth slows sharply. Even countries like Japan that have joined the United States in economic leadership in defining best practice in some sectors lag behind in other sectors. Our theory suggests that China is currently reaching its limits to rapid growth.
    Date: 2016–04–12
    Abstract: Since the ancient times, family has formed the oldest and the most fundamental column of the social pyramid in the society. In fact, when the primitive man passed the era of semi-savageness and the era of hunting animals for nutrition, family was formed. This small social pyramid started from father, children and close relatives and gradually covered uncles, cousins, aunts and grandchildren who all had the same customs, lived under the same roofs and always obeyed the elder and the leader of the family. In this era, the father had the right to take any form of action in the family. Father of the family had the absolute freedom and had the right to do whatever he wished. Even lives of all family members were in his hands; but gradually, this patriarchy with its absolute power disappeared and the coming to power of kingdom and the central government of the Achaemenids transformed these rules. By coming to power of this dynasty and appearance of concerns about strength of the society and on the other side, for the sake of more childbirth for great wars, tendency towards family became more apparent; so much so that the Achaemenid kings themselves encouraged formation of families and assigned gifts for families that gave birth to more sons. In this study, we first deal with the course of changes in the family system in this period. In the second part, marriage has been discussed. In the third part, we discussed incest marriage. In the fourth part, we have talked about divorce. In the fifth part, we have discussed the legal rights of family system in this period, and in the last part, by this implication that the Iranian family system in the Achaemenid era, considering the formation of different economic, social and political conditions, has experienced further changes and become more important and significant, we ended this study.
    Keywords: Achaemenid, family, wedlock, incest marriage, divorce, juridical laws

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