nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2016‒12‒11
five papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. That's my turf: An experimental analysis of territorial use rights for fisheries in Indonesia By Gallier, Carlo; Langbein, Jörg; Vance, Colin
  2. Geographical Origins and Economic Consequences of Language Structures By Galor, Oded; Özak, Ömer; Sarid, Assaf
  3. Cheat or Perish? A Theory of Scientific Customs By Benoît LE MAUX; Sarah NECKER; Yvon ROCABOY
  4. Inter-ethnic Fertility Spillovers and the Role of Forward-looking Behavior: Evidence from Peninsular Malaysia By Beam, Emily A.; Shrestha, Slesh
  5. Determinants of fertility in the long run By Jong-Wha Lee

  1. By: Gallier, Carlo; Langbein, Jörg; Vance, Colin
    Abstract: We conduct a framed field experiment in Indonesian fishing communities, with an eye towards evaluating the potential of Territorial Use Rights for Fisheries (TURFs) to preserve coral reef fisheries. Conducted in three culturally distinctive sites, the study assembles groups of five fishers who participate in a common-pool resource game. We implement the game with randomly assigned treatments in all sites to explore whether the extraction decision varies according to three recommended non-binding extraction levels originating from (1) a democratic process, (2) a group leader or (3) an external source that recommends a socially optimal extraction level. In one of the sites - that having the highest levels of ethnic and religious diversity - we find that democratic decision-making as well as information originating from outside the community promotes the cooperative behavior that underpins TURFs, a result that is robust to regressions controlling for individual and community attributes.
    Keywords: Framed field experiment,commons dilemmas,coral reefs,self-governance
    JEL: C93 H43 L31 Q32
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Galor, Oded (Brown University); Özak, Ömer (Southern Methodist University); Sarid, Assaf (University of Haifa)
    Abstract: This research explores the economic causes and consequences of language structures. It advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that variations in pre-industrial geographical characteristics that were conducive to higher return to agricultural investment, larger gender gap in agricultural productivity, and more hierarchical society, are at the root of existing cross-language variations in the presence of the future tense, grammatical gender, and politeness distinctions. Moreover, the research suggests that while language structures have largely reflected the coding of past human experience and in particular the range of ancestral cultural traits in society, they independently affected human behavior and economic outcomes.
    Keywords: comparative development, cultural evolution, language structure, future tense, politeness distinctions, grammatical gender, human capital, education
    JEL: I25 J24 O1 O10 O11 O12 O40 O43 O44 Z10
    Date: 2016–11
  3. By: Benoît LE MAUX (CREM-CNRS and Condorcet Center, University of Rennes 1, France); Sarah NECKER (University of Freiburg, Walter-Eucken Institute, Deutschland); Yvon ROCABOY (CREM-CNRS and Condorcet Center, University of Rennes 1, France)
    Abstract: We develop a theory of the evolution of scientific misbehavior. Our empirical analysis of a survey of scientific misbehavior in economics suggests that researchers’ disutility from cheating varies with the expected fraction of colleagues who cheat. This observation is central to our theory. We develop a one-principal multi-agent framework in which a research institution aims to reward scientific productivity at minimum cost. As the social norm is determined endogenously, performance-related pay may not only increase cheating in the short run but can also make cheat-ing increasingly attractive in the long run. The optimal contract thus depends on the dynamics of scientific norms. The premium on scientific productivity should be higher when the transmission of scientific norms across generations is lower (low marginal peer pressure) or the principal cares little about the future (has a high discount rate). Under certain conditions, a greater probability of detection also increases the optimal productivity premium.
    Keywords: Economics of Science, Contract Theory, Scientific Misbehavior, Social Norms
    JEL: A11 A13 K42
    Date: 2016–12
  4. By: Beam, Emily A. (University of Vermont); Shrestha, Slesh (National University of Singapore)
    Abstract: Demographic pressures can create competition for limited private and public resources and exacerbate pre-existing inter-ethnic tensions. At the same time, inter-ethnic competition may influence individual fertility decisions. Using the variation in birth rates in Malaysia induced by the Chinese lunar calendar, we document a 12.7-percent rise in births among ethnic Chinese in dragon years, which are considered auspicious. We find a negative fertility response from Malays – for every additional Chinese new-born child, Malays reduced their fertility by 0.30 children. We estimate the elasticity of this inter-ethnic fertility spillover (-0.15), and we find strongly suggestive evidence that pressure on resources was an important driver of these spillovers. The Malay response was greatest in areas where resources were more limited, and in areas with lower public investments. These results suggest that households are forward-looking in their fertility decisions, and they point to the potential role of governments in reducing ethnic tension through policies that increase private and public resources.
    Keywords: fertility timing, ethnic competition, spillover, Chinese zodiac, public resources, Malaysia
    JEL: D74 J13 J15 O15 O17
    Date: 2016–11
  5. By: Jong-Wha Lee
    Abstract: This study investigates the determinants of fertility in the long run, using a newly constructed panel data set consisting of fertility rates, measured as crude birth rates, infant mortality rates, per-capita income, and the educational attainment of men and women for 43 countries from 1890 to 2010 at five-year intervals. The regression results show the significant effects of per-capita income, infant mortality, educational attainment, and political development on fertility rates. A woman's educational attainment at the primary and secondary levels has a pronounced negative effect on fertility rates. On the contrary, an increase in a woman's tertiary educational attainment, with the level of a man's remaining constant, tends to raise fertility rates, indicating that highly educated women can have a better environment for childbearing and childrearing in a society with greater gender equality. The presented research thus identifies the important role of human capital accumulation, especially attained by women, in demographic transition through fertility decisions for over a century of human history.
    Keywords: Economic Development, Education, Female Education, Fertility, Gender Inequality
    JEL: J13
    Date: 2016–12

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