nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2016‒04‒30
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Population Diversity, Division of Labor and Comparative Development By Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio; Özak, Ömer
  2. Where Do Social Preferences Come From? By Chaning Jang; John Lynham
  3. Social identity and solidarity in ethnically diverse societies: Experimental evidence from Vietnam By Roggemann, Hanne; Hadnes, Myriam; Landmann, Andreas
  4. Recent Developments in the Experimental Elicitation of Time Preference By Cheung, Stephen L.
  5. The Development of Development Economics By Bigsten, Arne
  6. The limits of guilt By Loukas Balafoutas; Helena Fornwagner

  1. By: Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio; Özak, Ömer
    Abstract: This research explores the emergence and prevalence of economic specialization and trade in pre-modern societies. It advances the hypothesis, and establishes empirically that population diversity had a positive causal effect on economic specialization and trade. Based on a novel ethnic level dataset combining geocoded ethnographic, linguistic and genetic data, this research exploits the exogenous variation in population diversity generated by the ``Out-of-Africa'' migration of anatomically modern humans to causally establish that higher levels of population diversity were conducive to economic specialization and the emergence of trade-related institutions that, in turn, translated into pre-modern era differences in comparative development. Additionally, this research provides suggestive evidence that regions historically inhabited by pre-modern societies with high levels of economic specialization have higher levels of contemporary occupational heterogeneity, economic complexity and development.
    Keywords: Economic Specialization, Division of Labor, Trade, Comparative Development, Economic Development, Population Diversity, Population Heterogeneity, Genetic Diversity, Linguistic Diversity, Diversity, Persistence, Out of Africa, Serial Founder Effect
    JEL: D74 F10 F14 N10 O10 O11 O12 O40 O43 O44 O47 O49 Z10
    Date: 2016–04–04
  2. By: Chaning Jang (Department of Psychology, Princeton University); John Lynham (Department of Economics & UHERO, University of Hawaii at Manoa; Center for Ocean Solutions, Stanford University)
    Abstract: Where do preferences for fairness come from? We use a unique field setting to test for a spillover of sharing norms from the workplace to a laboratory experiment. Fishermen working in teams receive random income shocks (catching fish) that they must regularly divide among themselves. We demonstrate a clear correlation between sharing norms in the field and sharing norms in the lab. Furthermore, the spillover effect is stronger for fishermen who have been exposed to a sharing norm for longer, suggesting that our findings are not driven by selection effects. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that work environments shape social preferences.
    Keywords: ultimatum game; social preferences; fairness; workplace spillovers
    JEL: Q2 C9 C7 B4 D1
    Date: 2015–08
  3. By: Roggemann, Hanne; Hadnes, Myriam; Landmann, Andreas
    Abstract: We study the impact of social identity on risk sharing behavior in an ethnically diverse society in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. We ran Solidarity Games with 285 male household heads from two distinct ethnic groups. We varied participants' social identity by altering the ethnic composition in the risk-sharing group of three. Our main strategy is to influence identity induced solidarity towards the unlucky coplayer by manipulating the identity of the non-affected third player. Our results are consistent with social identity theory, predicting that identity is endogenous to group composition. We partially confirm existing evidence on in-group favoritism, once identity becomes salient. Additionally, we find that those subjects that constitute the minority in the risk-sharing group show adaptive behavior by imitating the perceived norm of the dominant ethnic group. These results suggest that identity is context specific. Particularly, the rather disadvantaged group in the heterogeneous society seems to adapt their behavior to the social environment.
    Keywords: Social Identity, Risk Sharing, Neighborhood e ects, Vietnam, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Public Economics, Risk and Uncertainty, D3,
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Cheung, Stephen L. (University of Sydney)
    Abstract: This methodological survey reviews recent developments in the design of experiments to elicit individuals' time preferences, with a focus on the measurement or control for potentially non-linear utility. While the objective of a time preference experiment is usually to estimate parameters of a discount function, assumptions concerning the nature of utility may have an important influence upon these estimates. The survey classifies experiment designs on two dimensions: whether they assume an equivalence between utility under risk and over time, and whether they result in an estimate of the curvature of utility.
    Keywords: time preference, discounted utility, instantaneous utility, choice list
    JEL: C91 D03 D90
    Date: 2016–04
  5. By: Bigsten, Arne (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: This paper discusses the historical roots of development economics and how it has changed over the last half century. We first identify the most important changes in orientation within development economics and discuss whether there are important areas that have been side-lined. Then we look at current work in development economics and discuss where the field should go in the future.
    Keywords: development economics; review; methodology
    JEL: B12 O11 O12 O13 O14 O15 O16 O17 O18 O19
    Date: 2016–04
  6. By: Loukas Balafoutas; Helena Fornwagner
    Abstract: Guilt aversion has been put forward in recent years as a prominent motivation for certain aspects of human behavior. When agents are guilt averse, their utility depends on what they believe others expect of them and they suffer a cost whenever they fall short of those expectations. In this paper we suggest that there may be limits to this kind of motivation. We present evidence from a dictator game showing that dictators display behavior consistent with guilt aversion for relatively low levels of recipient expectations, roughly up to the point where the recipient expects half of the available surplus. Beyond that point the relationship between expectations and transfers becomes negative. We argue that this non-monotonicity can help explain why the economic literature on guilt aversion offers conflicting findings on the relationship between expectations and behavior. Moreover, we examine this relationship at the individual level and establish a typology of subjects depending on how and whether they condition their behavior on recipient expectations. Our evidence is consistent with a simple theoretical model of guilt aversion.
    Keywords: guilt aversion, greed, experiment, strategy method
    JEL: C91 D03
    Date: 2016–04

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