nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2016‒10‒30
eight papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Schumpeter, Veblen and Bourdieu on Institutions and the Formation of Habits By Bögenhold, Dieter; Michaelides, Panayotis G.; Papageorgiou, Theofanis
  2. The Origins and Long-Run Consequences of the Division of Labor By Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio; Özak, Ömer
  3. Gender Preferences in Africa: A Comparative Analysis of Fertility Choices By Pauline Rossi; Léa Rouanet
  4. Embodying rationality By Mastrogiorgio, Antonio; Petracca, Enrico
  5. Distance to the Pre-industrial Technological Frontier and Economic Development By Özak, Ömer
  6. Current Emotion Research in Economics By Wälde, Klaus; Moors, Agnes
  7. Altruistic and risk preference of individuals and groups By Yoshio Kamijo; Teruyuki Tamura
  8. Revealing Naïveté and Sophistication from Procrastination and Preproperation By David Freeman

  1. By: Bögenhold, Dieter; Michaelides, Panayotis G.; Papageorgiou, Theofanis
    Abstract: As we know, Joseph Alois Schumpeter is one of the greatest economists of all times, while Thorstein Veblen is an economist and sociologist who made seminal contributions to the social sciences. Pierre Bourdieu, meanwhile, is one of the most famous structural sociologists, who has consistently worked on economic dynamics. These three scholars have laid the foundations of a socioeconomic perspective. However, several important aspects of their works remain less widely discussed, or even inadequately explored in a comparative manner. Of course, investigating the origins of their ideas in evolutionary and institutional economics and re-evaluating comparatively the influences that shaped their works is quite useful for promoting dialogue between Economics and Sociology. Within this framework, this essay focuses on the conceptual relationship between Schumpeter, Veblen and Bourdieu. Evolution and Change shape the economic life in their respective works and, in such a framework a central point of their analyses is the interdependence between the cultural, social and economic spheres. Furthermore, an economic sociology is built around the concept of habit formation. The three great authors’ systemic views focus on the various institutions and other aspects of cultural, social and economic life, where habits are formed and cover diverse fields and notions such as Consumption, Preferences, Art, Knowledge, Banking and even Capitalism. For instance, all three social scientists acknowledged the fact that the internal dynamics of capitalism introduce structural instabilities into the economic system. Also, they recognized that research and knowledge development is a collective social process. However, from a methodological perspective, their main emphasis is on the emerging dynamic evolution of habits, which is perceived as the interruption of already existing social norms and the conflict between routine and change. Several differences between Schumpeter, Veblen and Bourdieu are observed and analysed and ideas for future research are presented.
    Keywords: Schumpeter, Veblen, Bourdieu, Habits, Consumption, Capitalism
    JEL: B15 B25 B31
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio; Özak, Ömer
    Abstract: This research explores the deep historical roots and persistent effects of the division of labor in pre-modern societies. It advances the hypothesis, and establishes empirically that population diversity had a positive causal effect on the division of labor. 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 historical migratory patterns 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 differences in pre-modern comparative development. Additionally, this research provides suggestive evidence that regions historically inhabited by pre-modern societies with higher 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, Human Capital, Skill-Bias, Population Diversity, Genetic Diversity, Linguistic Diversity, Cultural Diversity, Persistence, Serial Founder Effect
    JEL: D74 F10 F14 J24 N10 O10 O11 O12 O40 O43 O44 Z10 Z13
    Date: 2016–08–26
  3. By: Pauline Rossi (CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - INSEE - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), PSE - Paris School of Economics); Léa Rouanet (LMI - Laboratoire de microéconomie - Centre de Recherche en Économie et STatistique (CREST), PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), PSE - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper proposes a new method to infer gender preferences from birth spacing. We apply it to Africa, where the least is known about gender preferences. We show that son preference is strong and increasing in North Africa. By contrast, most Sub-Saharan African countries display a preference for variety or no preference at all. Further analysis concludes that traditional family systems predict well the nature of gender preferences, while religion does not. Last, the magnitude of preferences is stronger for wealthier and more educated women.
    Keywords: Fertility,Gender preferences,Africa
    Date: 2015–03
  4. By: Mastrogiorgio, Antonio; Petracca, Enrico
    Abstract: The current notions of bounded rationality in economics share distinctive features with Simon’s original notion, which still influences the theoretical and experimental research in the fields of choice, judgment, decision making, problem solving, and social cognition. All these notions of bounded rationality are in fact equally rooted in the information-processing approach to human cognition, expressing the view that reasoning is disembodied and that it can be reduced to the processing of abstract symbolic representations of the environment. This is in contrast with the last three-decade advancements in cognitive psychology, where a new view on human cognition has emerged under the general label of ‘embodied cognition’, demonstrating that cognition and reasoning are grounded in the morphological traits of the human body and the sensory-motor system. In this paper we argue that embodied cognition might reform the current notions of bounded rationality and we propose a number of arguments devoted to outline a novel program of research under the label of ‘embodied rationality’: (1) reasoning is situated as it arises from the ongoing interaction between the subject and the environment; (2) reasoning, not being exclusively a mental phenomenon, constitutively relies on the physical resources provided by the environment; (3) the sensory-motor system provides the building blocks for abstract reasoning, (4) automatic thinking is rooted in the evolutionary coupling between the morphological traits of the human body and the environment.
    Keywords: Bounded rationality; embodied cognition; Herbert A. Simon; ecological rationality; heuristics and biases
    JEL: A12 B40 D03 D04 D80
    Date: 2016–07
  5. By: Özak, Ömer
    Abstract: This research explores the effects of the geographical distance to the pre-industrial technological frontier on economic development. It establishes theoretically and empirically that there exists a persistent non-monotonic effect of distance to the frontier on development. In particular, exploiting a novel measure of the travel time to the technological frontier and variations in its location during the pre-industrial era, it establishes a robust persistent U-shaped relation between the distance to the pre-industrial technological frontier and economic development. Moreover, it demonstrates that isolation from the frontier has had a positive cumulative effect on innovation and entrepreneurial activity levels, suggesting isolation may have fostered the emergence of a culture conducive to innovation, knowledge creation, and entrepreneurship.
    Keywords: E02, F15, F43, N10, N70, O11, O14, O31, O33, Z10
    JEL: E02 F15 F43 N10 O10 O11 O14 O25 O31 O33 Z10
    Date: 2016–10
  6. By: Wälde, Klaus (University of Mainz); Moors, Agnes (KU Leuven)
    Abstract: Positive and negative feelings were central to the development of economics, especially in utility theory in classical economics. While neoclassical utility theory ignored feelings, behavioral economics more recently reintroduced feelings in utility theory. Beyond feelings, economic theorists use full-fledged specific emotions to explain behavior that otherwise could not be understood or they study emotions out of interest for the emotion itself. While some analyses display a strong overlap between psychological thinking and economic modelling, in most cases there is still a large gap between economic and psychological approaches to emotion research. Ways how to reduce this gap are discussed.
    Keywords: emotions, decision making, theory
    JEL: A12 B0 D03
    Date: 2016–10
  7. By: Yoshio Kamijo (School of Economics and Management, Kochi University of Technology); Teruyuki Tamura (School of Economics and Management, Kochi University of Technology)
    Abstract: This study examines whether attitudes toward risk and altruism are affected by being in a group or being alone. Subjects in our experiment were requested only to show their faces to other members without any further communication, differing from previous studies. In experiments of both anonymous investments and donations, we found that subjects who made decisions in a group offered significantly lower amounts than individuals who made decisions alone, even controlling for individuals' risk and altruistic preferences. Our results indicate that people are more risk averse and self-interested when they are in a group.
    Keywords: Group decision, Altruism, Decision under risk
    JEL: C91 C92 D81
    Date: 2016–10
  8. By: David Freeman (Simon Fraser University)
    Abstract: This paper proposes a novel way of distinguishing whether a person is naïve or sophisticated about their own dynamic inconsistency using only their task completion behaviour. I show that adding an extra opportunity to complete the task that goes unused can lead a naïve (but not a sophisticated) person to complete it even later, and can lead a sophisticated (but not a naïve) person to complete the task even earlier. These results provide the framework for revealing the preference and sophistication types studied in O’Donoghue and Rabin (1999) from behaviour in a generalization of their environment.
    Keywords: sophistication, naïveté, procrastination, preproperation, task completion, present bias, time inconsistency
    JEL: D03 D84 D90
    Date: 2016–10–19

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