nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2016‒11‒20
nine papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Unreal Wages? A New Empirical Foundation for the Study of Living Standards and Economic Growth in England, 1260-1860 By Jane Humphries; Jacob Weisdorf
  2. On the Patterns of Behaviour in Digitalized Societies By Horst Hanusch
  3. What's in a Name in a War By Jurajda, Štepán; Kovač, Dejan
  4. What Grades and Achievement Tests Measure By Borghans, Lex; Golsteyn, Bart H.H.; Heckman, James J.; Humphries, John Eric
  5. The Global Demography of Aging: Facts, Explanations, Future By David E. Bloom; Dara Lee Luca
  6. Three decades of publishing research in population economics By Brown, Alessio J.G.; Zimmermann, Klaus F.
  7. The Economics of Fertility Timing: An Euler Equation Approach By David Canning; Declan French; Michael Moore
  8. The contribution of female health to economic development By David E. Bloom; Michael Kuhn; Klaus Prettner
  9. Entropy Man, Chapter 2 A Short History of Human Development By John Bryant

  1. By: Jane Humphries; Jacob Weisdorf
    Abstract: Abstract: Existing measures of historical real wages suffer from the fundamental problem that workers’ annual incomes are estimated on the basis of day wages without knowing the length of the working year. We circumvent this problem by presenting a novel wage series of male workers employed on annual contracts. We use evidence of labour market arbitrage to argue that existing real wage estimates are badly off target, because they overestimate the medieval working year but underestimate the industrial one. Our data suggests that modern economic growth began two centuries earlier than hitherto thought and was driven by an ‘Industrious Revolution’.
    Keywords: England, industrial revolution, industrious revolution, labour input, living standards, wages, Malthusian model.
    JEL: J3 J4 J5 J6 J7 J8 N33
    Date: 2016–09–20
  2. By: Horst Hanusch (Institute of Economics, University of Augsburg, Augsburg)
    Abstract: The study intends (1) to look at the importance of individual rationality as the main principle of economic behaviour, incorporated best in the concept of "homo oeconomicus". (2) to show how the third technological revolution, the "digitalization of society", may transform individual behaviour in the three pillars of an economic system (real, financial, public). One major achievement of main stream economics of Western style is the "homo oeconomicus". Behind this concept stands the idea of rational man relevant for all parts in economic systems. It allows a consequent application of profit and efficiency maximizing in the real and financial sector and of vote and utility maximization in the public sector as agents' behaviour. Psychology, sociology, behaviourism, anthropology are strictly against the idea of the "homo oeconomicus". Evolutionary and Neo-Schumpeterian Economics also claim that it is wrong because it doesn’t allow to include uncertainty considerations which are a condition sine-qua-non for innovation, change and prosperity. But, is this concept completely wrong? Or is it perhaps relevant for specific parts of an economic system, if they develop within the process of digital revolution? These are the questions which will be tackled in the paper. The analysis will follow a comprehensive approach, looking at the three institutional pillars of an economy, the financial, the real and the public sector trying to work out the effects of digitalization on the patterns of behaviour. All in all, the effects of digitalization can be summarized as follows: In the financial pillar it modifies the culture of doing business from "symbiotic capitalism" to "financial capitalism" with prevailing olympic rationality. In the industrial pillar it induces changes from short term maximizing "managerial capitalism" to a long term oriented "entrepreneurial capitalism". In the public pillar it may open ways to institutional change, at least partially, from a "bureaucratic tax state" to a system of "social capitalism" with high potentials for enabling individual creativity and resilience capabilities.
    Keywords: Behavioural Economics , Neo-Schumpeterianism
    JEL: B52 D00 O1
    Date: 2016–11
  3. By: Jurajda, Štepán (CERGE-EI); Kovač, Dejan (CERGE-EI)
    Abstract: We propose a novel empirical strategy for identifying and studying nationalism using name choices. We first show that having been given a first name that is synonymous with the leader(s) of the fascist Croatian state during World War II predicts volunteering for army service in the 1991-1995 Croatian war of independence and dying during the conflict. Next, we use the universe of Croatian birth certificates and the information about nationalism conveyed by first names to contrast the evolution of nationalism and its intergenerational transmission across locations affected by extreme war-related experiences. Our evidence suggests that in ex-Yugoslav Croatia, nationalism was on a continuous rise starting in the 1970s, that its rise was curbed in areas where con- centration camps were located during WWII, and that nationalist fathers consider the nationalism-transmission trade-off between within-family and society-wide transmission channels suggested by Bisin and Verdier (2001).
    Keywords: Ustaše, nationalism, names, intergenerational transmission
    JEL: D64 D74 Z1
    Date: 2016–10
  4. By: Borghans, Lex (Maastricht University); Golsteyn, Bart H.H. (Maastricht University); Heckman, James J. (University of Chicago); Humphries, John Eric (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: Intelligence quotient (IQ), grades, and scores on achievement tests are widely used as measures of cognition, yet the correlations among them are far from perfect. This paper uses a variety of data sets to show that personality and IQ predict grades and scores on achievement tests. Personality is relatively more important in predicting grades than scores on achievement tests. IQ is relatively more important in predicting scores on achievement tests. Personality is generally more predictive than IQ of a variety of important life outcomes. Both grades and achievement tests are substantially better predictors of important life outcomes than IQ. The reason is that both capture personality traits that have independent predictive power beyond that of IQ.
    Keywords: IQ, achievement tests, grades, personality traits
    JEL: J24 D03
    Date: 2016–11
  5. By: David E. Bloom (Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health); Dara Lee Luca (Mathematica Policy Research)
    Abstract: Population ageing is the 21st century’s dominant demographic phenomenon. Declining fertility, increasing longevity, and the progression of large-sized cohorts to the older ages are causing elder shares to rise throughout the world. The phenomenon of population ageing, which is unprecedented in human history, brings with it sweeping changes in population needs and capacities, with potentially significant implications for employment, savings, consumption, economic growth, asset values, and fiscal balance. This chapter provides a broad overview of the global demography of aging. It reviews patterns, trends, and projections involving various indicators of population aging and their demographic antecedents and sequelae. The chapter also reviews theories economists use to explain the behavioral changes driving the most prominent demographic shifts. Finally, it discusses the changing nature of aging, the future of longevity, and associated policy implications, highlighting some key research issues that require further examination. JEL Codes: J11; J14; N30
    Keywords: Population aging; Economic demography; Longevity
    Date: 2016–10
  6. By: Brown, Alessio J.G. (UNU‐MERIT); Zimmermann, Klaus F. (UNU-MERIT, and Harvard University)
    Abstract: The Journal of Population Economics is celebrating its thirtieth birthday. When the first issue was published, population economics was non-existent as a field. Hence, the aim has been to provide a high quality outlet to publishing excellent theoretical and applied research in all areas of population economics. The article summarises key developments in the Journal's editorial process, thematic orientation, international reach and successes. Furthermore, we discuss the benefits of working papers in economics and investigate the impacts of the present working paper culture on journal citations. Finally, we try to identify the citation impacts in the Journal itself. The Journal of Population Economics has established itself as the leader in its field. Publishing in working papers and in the Journal seem to be complementary activities.
    Keywords: Demographical economics, population economics, working papers, Kuznets prize, citation impacts
    JEL: A11 A14 B20 J10
    Date: 2016–10–11
  7. By: David Canning (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Global Health and Population); Declan French (Queen's Management School); Michael Moore (Public Health Association of Australia)
    Abstract: We develop a dynamic model of fertility, female labor supply and consumption to explain birth timing, particularly why more educated women delay fertility longer. We express the birth timing decision in an Euler equation framework by treating the probability of fertility each period as a continuous choice variable with actual fertility being a random outcome given this probability. Within this framework, it is easy to see the effects of economic forces on fertility timing decisions. Using US data we show that more highly educated women delay fertility to later ages because they can accrue greater benefits from work experience. JEL Codes: J13, J31
    Keywords: births, female labor supply, optimization
    Date: 2016–10
  8. By: David E. Bloom (Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health); Michael Kuhn (Vienna Institute of Demography); Klaus Prettner (Institute of Statistics and Mathematical Methods in EconomicsAuthor-Email:
    Abstract: We analyze the economic consequences for less developed countries of investing in female health. In so doing we introduce a novel micro-founded dynamic general equilibrium framework in which parents trade off the number of children against investments in their education and in which we allow for health-related gender differences in productivity. We show that better female health speeds up the demographic transition and thereby the take-off toward sustained economic growth. By contrast, male health improvements delay the transition and the take-off because ceteris paribus they raise fertility. According to our results, investing in female health is therefore an important lever for development policies. However, and without having to assume anti-female bias, we also show that households prefer male health improvements over female health improvements because they imply a larger static utility gain. This highlights the existence of a dynamic trade-off between the short-run interests of households and long-run development goals. Our numerical analysis shows that even small changes in female health can have a strong impact on the transition process to a higher income level in the long run. Our results are robust with regard to a number of extensions, most notably endogenous investment in health care. JEL Codes: O11, I15, I25, J13, J16
    Keywords: economic development, educational transition, female health, fertility transition, quality-quantity trade-off
    Date: 2016–10
  9. By: John Bryant (Vocat International)
    Abstract: Chapter from a book entitled Entropy Man, which deals with the relationships between the disciplines of thermodynamics and economics. Chapter 1 illusrates how entropy impacts on the world in which we live. Chapter 2 is a short history of human development. Chapter 3 covers such concepts as the distribution of income, elasticity, the first and second laws of thermodynamics and utility. Chapter 4 explores production and consumption. Chapter 5 explores the relationship between economic entropy and money, illustrated by data of the UK and USA economies. Chapter 7 explores the relationship between economic entropy and employment. Chapter 8 sets out the key dynamics of resources.Chapter 9 illustrates trends in non-renewable resources of oil, gas, coal, nuclear power, steel, cement and Aluminium. Chapter 10 illustrates trends in renewable resources, including humankind, water, land and soil, cereals and grain, meat, fish, the greeen revolution, and renewable energy, including hydro-electric power, wind and solar energy. Chapter 11 is a summary of trends relating to climate change and economic output, and chapter 12 summarises how economics and entropy relate to a sustainable world.
    Keywords: Thermodynamics, economics, Le Chatelier, entropy, utility, money, equilibrium, value, energy, interest, elasticity, employment, climate change
    JEL: A1 C02 C68 D5 E O
    Date: 2015–03

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