nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2016‒11‒27
eight papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Population Growth, Human Capital Accumulation, and the Long-Run Dynamics of Economic Growth By Kaixing Huang
  2. What's in a Name in a War By Stepan Jurajda; Dejan Kovac
  3. What Grades and Achievement Tests Measure By Lex Borghans; Bart Golsteyn; James J. Heckman; John Eric Humphries
  4. Social Contagion of Ethnic Hostility By Michal Bauer; Jana Cahlikova; Julie Chytilova; Tomas Zelinsky
  5. Multigenerational persistence. Evidence from 146 years of administrative data By Jørgen Modalsli
  6. Growth, Stagnation and Decline of a Village: An Autobiographical Essay on the Socio-economic History of Tarar, Bihar (India) By Mishra, SK
  7. Family Economics Writ Large By Jeremy Greenwood; Nezih Guner; Guillaume Vandenbroucke
  8. Economics meets Psychology:Experimental and self-reported Measures of Individual Competitiveness By Werner Bönte; Sandro Lombardo; Diemo Urbig

  1. By: Kaixing Huang (School of Economics & the Centre for Global Food and Resources, University of Adelaide)
    Abstract: This article adopts a modified idea-based growth model with endogenous human capital and population to explain why the theoretically relevant growth effect of population growth on economic growth is empirically unobservable. The model predicts that the economic growth rate is proportional to the growth rates of both population and human capital. The offsetting movement of the growth rates of population and human capital after the demographic transition obscures observation of the growth effect. The model also generates an evolution of the growth rates of population, human capital, and per capita income that is consistent with historical and postwar data.
    Keywords: Economic growth, ideas, human capital, population
    JEL: E27 O40
    Date: 2016–11
  2. By: Stepan Jurajda; Dejan Kovac
    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 certicates 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 concentration 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: Ustase; nationalism; names; intergenerational transmission;
    JEL: D64 D74 Z1
    Date: 2016–10
  3. By: Lex Borghans (Maastricht University); Bart Golsteyn (Maastricht University and SOFI); James J. Heckman (The University of Chicago); John Eric Humphries (University of Chicago, Department of Economics)
    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, personality traits, grades, achievement tests
    JEL: D03 J24
    Date: 2016–11
  4. By: Michal Bauer; Jana Cahlikova; Julie Chytilova; Tomas Zelinsky
    Abstract: Ethnic hostilities often spread rapidly. This paper investigates the influence of peers on willingness to sacrifice one’s own resources in order to cause harm to others. We implement a novel experimental design, in which we manipulate the identity of a victim as well as the social context, by allowing subjects to observe randomly assigned peers. The results show that the susceptibility to follow destructive peer behavior is great when harm is caused to members of the Roma minority, but small when it impacts co-ethnics. If not exposed to destructive peers, subjects do not discriminate. We observe very similar patterns in a norms elicitation experiment: destructive behavior towards Roma is not generally rated as more socially appropriate than when directed at co-ethnics but norms are more sensitive to social contexts. The findings can help to explain why ethnic hostilities can spread quickly among masses, even in societies with few visible signs of systematic inter-ethnic hatred, and why many societies institute hate crime laws.
    Keywords: ethnic conflict; discrimination; hostile behavior; contagion; peer effects;
    JEL: C93 D03 D74 J15
    Date: 2016–08
  5. By: Jørgen Modalsli (Statistics Norway)
    Abstract: There is increasing evidence that intergenerational transmission of economic characteristics goes beyond what can be measured by parent-child associations. However, existing studies are based on samples from small geographic areas or particular time periods, making it hard to know to what extent these multigenerational processes can be generalized across space and time, and how they depend on the measurement of economic outcomes. This paper uses Norwegian census data on occupational associations among grandfathers, fathers and sons from 1865 to 2011 and finds significant grandparental influence throughout the period. In particular, the additional grandparental influence is strong for white-collar occupations. The findings are robust to alternative ways of measuring the characteristics of the parent generation, and to the use of income rather than occupation as a measure of economic status. Multigenerational persistence is found to have been stronger early in the period, before the establishment of a modern welfare state, suggesting that institutions play a part in how economic characteristics are transmitted across generations. Persistence is strong also in subpopulations where generations grew up in different parts of the country. This shows that the grandparental effect is not exclusively driven by direct interpersonal interaction between individuals across generations.
    Keywords: Multigenerational mobility; human capital transmission; occupational mobility; income mobility; grandfathers
    JEL: J62 D31 N33 N34
    Date: 2016–11
  6. By: Mishra, SK
    Abstract: This autobiographical essay tells the story of growth, stagnation and decline of a village socio-economy in Bihar (India) that the author observed during the past six decades or so. It grew with optimism and cooperation among the inhabitants. But very soon it was eclipsed by the drive to aggressive resource acquisition, transgression and group rivalry culminating to crime and gloom. Almost each family of the village became contributor as well as subject to ‘envy-barrier to development’. Envy and ill will became the very stuff of life that dominated everything else. The pleasure of malevolence became the dominant drive to social behaviour. The people there now have almost no social or even personal purpose to reckon with. They are hiding themselves in their houses; they are afraid of their own shadows. They speak cautiously and stroll cautiously. The village has lost its life force, it has lost its shine, it has lost its present and it has lost its future.
    Keywords: Village socio-economy, Bihar, India, development, decline, stagnation, historical, autobiographical
    JEL: B52 O17 Z13
    Date: 2016–11–22
  7. By: Jeremy Greenwood (University of Pennsylvania); Nezih Guner (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona); Guillaume Vandenbroucke (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)
    Abstract: Powerful currents have reshaped the structure of families over the last century. There has been (i) a dramatic drop in fertility and greater parental investment in children; (ii) a rise in married female labor-force participation; (iii) a decline in marriage and a rise in divorce; (iv) a higher degree of assortative mating; (v) more children living with a single mother; (vi) shifts in social norms governing premarital sex and married women's roles in the labor market. Macroeconomic models explaining these aggregate trends are surveyed. The relentless flow of technological progress and its role in shaping family life are stressed.
    Keywords: assortative mating, baby boom, baby bust, family economics, female labor supply, fertility, household income inequality, Household Production, human capital, macroeconomics, marriage and divorce, Quantity-quality tradeoff, premarital sex, quantitative theory, single mothers, social change, survey paper, technological progress, women's rights
    JEL: D10 E20 J10 O10 O40 Z10
    Date: 2016–11
  8. By: Werner Bönte (University of Wuppertal, Schumpeter School of Business and Economics; University of Wuppertal, Jackstädt Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research; Indiana University, School of Public & Environmental Affairs, Institute for Development Strategies); Sandro Lombardo (University of Wuppertal, Schumpeter School of Business and Economics); Diemo Urbig (University of Wuppertal, Schumpeter School of Business and Economics; University of Wuppertal, Jackstädt Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research; Indiana University, School of Public & Environmental Affairs, Institute for Development Strategies)
    Abstract: Economists and psychologists follow different approaches to measure individual competitiveness. While psychologists typically use self-reported psychometric scales, economists tend to use incentivized behavioral experiments, where subjects confronted with a specific task self-select into a competitive versus a piece-rate payment scheme. So far, both measurement approaches have remained largely isolated from one another. We discuss how these approaches are linked and based on a classroom experiment with 186 students we empirically examine the relationship between a behavioral competitiveness measure and a self-reported competitiveness scale. We find a stable positive relationship between these measures suggesting that both measures are indicators of the same underlying latent variable, which might be interpreted as a general preference to enter competitive situations. Moreover, our results suggest that the self-reported scale partly rests on motives related to personal development, whereas the behavioral measure does not reflect competitiveness motivated by personal development. Our study demonstrates how comparative studies such as ours can open up new avenues for the further development of both behavioral experiments and psychometric scales that aim at measuring individual competitiveness.
    Keywords: Competition, Experiment, Tournament scheme, Personal Development Motive
    JEL: C91 D03 M52
    Date: 2016–11

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