nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2017‒01‒01
seven papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The prevalence of chaotic dynamics in games with many players By James B. T. Sanders; J. Doyne Farmer; Tobias Galla
  2. The Patriarchy Index: a new measure of gender and generational inequalities in the past By Mikołaj Szołtysek; Radosław Poniat; Siegfried Gruber; Sebastian Klüsener
  3. A Generalized Population Dynamics Model of a City and an Algorithm for Engineering Regime Shifts By James PL Tan
  4. The Economic Cost of Armed Conflict By Vega Bayo, Ainhoa; Gardeazabal, Javier
  5. An Empirical Exploration of the Near-Term and Persistent Effects of Conflict on Risk Preferences By Marc Rockmore; Christopher B. Barrett; Jeannie Annan
  6. Beliefs about Gender By Pedro Bordalo; Katie Coffman; Nicola Gennaioli; Andrei Shleifer
  7. Conflict, Institutions, and Economic Behavior: Legacies of the Cambodian Genocide By Katsuo Kogure; Yoshito Takasaki

  1. By: James B. T. Sanders; J. Doyne Farmer; Tobias Galla
    Abstract: We study adaptive learning in a typical p-player game. The payoffs of the games are randomly generated and then held fixed. The strategies of the players evolve through time as the players learn. The trajectories in the strategy space display a range of qualitatively different behaviors, with attractors that include unique fixed points, multiple fixed points, limit cycles and chaos. In the limit where the game is complicated, in the sense that the players can take many possible actions, we use a generating-functional approach to establish the parameter range in which learning dynamics converge to a stable fixed point. The size of this region goes to zero as the number of players goes to infinity, suggesting that complex non-equilibrium behavior, exemplified by chaos, may be the norm for complicated games with many players.
    Date: 2016–12
  2. By: Mikołaj Szołtysek (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Radosław Poniat; Siegfried Gruber (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Sebastian Klüsener (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: In this article, we present a new measure for use in cross-cultural studies of family-driven age- and gender-related inequalities. This composite measure, which we call the Patriarchy Index, combines a range of variables related to familial behaviour that reflect varying degrees of sex- and age-related social inequality across different family settings. We demonstrate the comparative advantages of the index by showing how 266 historical populations living in regions stretching from the Atlantic coast of Europe to Moscow scored on the patriarchy scale. We then compare the index with contemporary measures of gender discrimination, and find a strong correlation between historical and current inequality patterns. Finally, we explore how variation in patriarchy levels across Europe is related to the socio-economic and institutional characteristics of the regional populations, and to variation across these regions in their degree of demographic centrality and in their environmental conditions. Overall, the results of our study confirm previous findings that family organisation is a crucial generator of social inequality, and point to the importance of considering the historical context when analysing the current global contours of inequality.
    Keywords: Europe, gender, patriarchy, social heterogeneity, spatial analysis
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2016–12
  3. By: James PL Tan
    Abstract: Measures of wealth and production have been found to scale superlinearly with the population of a city. Therefore, it makes economic sense for humans to congregate together in dense settlements. A recent model of population dynamics showed that population growth can become superexponential due to the superlinear scaling of production with population in a city. Here, we generalize this population dynamics model and demonstrate the existence of multiple stable equilibrium points, showing how population growth can be stymied by a poor economic environment. This occurs when the goods and services produced by the city become less profitable due to a lack of diversification in the city's economy. Then, relying on critical slowing down signals related to the stability of an equilibrium point, we present an algorithm for engineering regime shifts such that a city at a stable equilibrium point may continue to grow again. The generality of the model and the algorithm used here implies that the model and algorithm need not be restricted to urban systems; they are easily applicable to other types of systems where the assumptions used are valid.
    Date: 2016–12
  4. By: Vega Bayo, Ainhoa; Gardeazabal, Javier
    Abstract: This paper estimates the distribution of the effect of armed conflict on real GDP per capita and investment. For each conflict, we construct a synthetic control from a set of conflict-free countries that closely resembles the conflicted country in the pre-conflict period. The economic evolution of this counterfactual country is then checked against the real evolution of the treated country to measure the GDP and investment gap that occurs during the conflict and post-conflict periods. We find that the size of the effect of armed conflict is very heterogeneous and varies widely depending on the type and intensity of the conflict episode being analyzed, as well as the number of years after onset. Conducting the analysis in levels instead of growth rates reveals that there is an economic loss even when there is a peace dividend effect. Our empirical exercise also serves as an illustration of a procedure to estimate the distribution of a heterogeneous treatment effect by means of the synthetic control method.
    Keywords: armed conflict, treatment effect, case study, synthetic control
    Date: 2016–12–13
  5. By: Marc Rockmore (Clark University); Christopher B. Barrett (Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and Cornell University); Jeannie Annan (International Rescue Committee, New York, and Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, Boston)
    Abstract: A burgeoning empirical literature on the effects of conflict on various economic behavioral parameters exhibits mixed results, with respect to both the magnitude and the direction of the effects. By estimating the distribution of estimated effects of violence on risk preferences, rather than just the average effect, we reconcile the discordant results of the prior literature. The distribution also reveals substantial and previously overlooked variation in the effects of exposure. This raises questions about the widespread use of aggregated measures of exposure to violence in conflict literature. We use panel data from northern Uganda, the latest round collected seven years after the violence ended, to explore the heterogeneous effects of different experiences of violence – personal suffering, perpetration, witness, or indirect experience through family members’ suffering – on different measures of ambiguity and risk aversion, correcting for many of the methodological shortcomings of previous studies. We find that violence has an adverse near-term effect on mental health, but with heterogeneous effects on risk aversion depending on the nature of one’s experience of violence. We also find that the risk preference effects persist even after a recovery in mental health.
    Date: 2016–10
  6. By: Pedro Bordalo; Katie Coffman; Nicola Gennaioli; Andrei Shleifer
    Abstract: We conduct a laboratory experiment on the determinants of beliefs about own and others? ability across different domains. A preliminary look at the data points to two distinct forces: miscalibration in estimating performance depending on the difficulty of tasks and gender stereotypes. We develop a theoretical model that separates these forces and apply it to analyze a large laboratory dataset in which participants estimate their own and a partner?s performance on questions across six subjects: arts and literature, emotion recognition, business, verbal reasoning, mathematics, and sports. We find that participants greatly overestimate not only their own ability but also that of others, suggesting that miscalibration is a substantial, first order factor in stated beliefs. Women are better calibrated than men, providing more accurate estimates of ability both for themselves and for others. Gender stereotypes also have strong predictive power for beliefs, particularly for men?s beliefs about themselves and others? beliefs about the ability of men. Our findings help interpret evidence on gender gaps in self-confidence.
    Date: 2016–12
  7. By: Katsuo Kogure (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University); Yoshito Takasaki (Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: This paper examines how the Cambodian genocide under the Pol Pot regime (1975-1979) altered people fs post-conflict behaviors through institutional changes. Combining spatial genocide data and the 1998 Census microdata, we compare the impacts of the genocide on subsequent investments in children fs education between couples who had their first child during and after the Pol Pot era. Because under the Pol Pot regime private ownership was completely denied and spouses and children were owned by the state as collective property, these couples had quite distinct institutional experiences: The former were controlled as family organizations and the latter were not. We find that the genocide adversely influenced children fs education among the former couples, but not the latter ones. We discuss plausible mechanisms underlying these patterns, shedding new light on why institutions which emerged during the conflict persistently shaped people fs post-conflict behaviors.
    Keywords: conflict, genocide, institutions, education, Cambodia
    JEL: N35 O15 O17 Z13
    Date: 2016–12

This nep-evo issue is ©2017 by Matthew Baker. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.