nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2017‒01‒08
eight papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Giochi evolutivi, evoluzione della cooperazione e materialismo storico By Stefano Vannucci
  2. The Narrow and the Broad Approach to Evolutionary Modeling in Economics By Heinrich, Torsten
  3. Geography, Parental Investment, and Comparative Economic Development By Lothar Grall
  4. Community Leaders and the Preservation of Cultural Traits By Anja Prummer; Jan-Peter Siedlarek
  5. The complementary relationship between institutional and complexity economics: The example of deep mechanismic explanations By Gräbner, Claudius
  6. Ice Age Climate, Somatic Capital, and the Timing of the Neolithic Transition By Lothar Grall
  7. Evolutionary Political Economy: Content and Methods By Hanappi, Hardy; Scholz-Waeckerle, Manuel
  8. Natural Selection, Technological Progress, and the Origin of Human Longevity By Lothar Grall

  1. By: Stefano Vannucci
    Abstract: An evolutionary game is a game endowed with a population of agents for each player role, a probability matching space and - possibly - an explicit evolutionary dynamics, on a state space that is defi?ned by means of some parameters of the game. Evolutionary games are an essential tool in modeling several issues related to the evolution of cooperation. In particular, by varying appropriately the underlying basic game and its dynamics, evolutionary games can be deployed to provide a neat representation of distinct versions of the ?evolution of cooperation?- problem, including the evolution of altruism, the evolution of distribution conventions, and the evolution of common-interest coordination. It is argued that, according to a plausible formulation of ?'historical materialism'? , the latter essentially amounts to the thesis that in games with common interest the evolution of the common interest equilibrium is typically to be expected even when it is risk-dominated.
    JEL: C70 C73
    Date: 2016–10
  2. By: Heinrich, Torsten
    Abstract: Some models in evolutionary economics rely on direct analogies to genetic evolution: Assuming a population of firms with routines, technologies and strategies on which forces of diversity generation and selection act. This narrow conception can build upon previous findings from evolutionary biology. Broader concepts of evolution allow either many or just one adaptive entity instead of necessarily requiring a population. Thus, an institution or a society can also be understood as the evolutionary entity. Both the narrow and the broad approach have been extensively used in the literature, albeit in different literature traditions. The paper gives an overview over the conception and the development of both approaches to evolutionary modeling and argues that a generalization is needed to realize the full potential of evolutionary modeling.
    Keywords: evolutionary economics; pattern evolution; dissipative structures; stability
    JEL: B25 B52 O33
    Date: 2016–12–24
  3. By: Lothar Grall (Justus Liebig University Giessen)
    Abstract: This paper suggests differential parental investment as a theoretical link between geographical conditions and comparative economic development, possibly accounting for the reversal of fortune in the process of development with respect to land productivity. The paper develops an evolutionary growth theory that builds on the trade-off between the quantity and quality of offspring. It advances the hypothesis that individuals living in a society characterized by adverse geographical conditions alter the evolutionary optimal allocation of resources from offspring quantity to offspring quality. Higher parental investment in offspring leads to a lower population density but a higher rate of technological progress in the (initially latent) manufacturing sector. Thus, adverse geographical conditions have a negative impact on economic development in the Malthusian epoch but a positive impact on the timing of the Industrial Revolution. The pattern of parental investment captures the very essence of human capi al formation in preindustrial times. It is a slow-changing biological or cultural trait and can therefore be seen as a good candidate for a long-term transmission channel of initial geographical conditions on comparative economic development.
    Keywords: Comparative Economic Development, Geographical Conditions, Human Evolution, Industrial Revolution, Parental Investment, Reversal of Fortune.
    JEL: O11 I12 J13
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Anja Prummer (Queen Mary University of London); Jan-Peter Siedlarek (Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland)
    Abstract: We explain persistent differences in cultural traits of immigrant groups with the presence of community leaders. Leaders influence the cultural traits of their community, which have an impact on the group's earnings. They determine whether a community will be more assimilated and wealthier or less assimilated and poorer. With a leader cultural integration remains incomplete. The leader chooses more distinctive cultural traits in high productivity environments and if the community is more connected. Lump sum transfers to immigrants can hinder cultural integration. These findings are in line with integration patterns of various ethnic and religious groups.
    Keywords: Cultural transmission, Leadership, Immigrants, Labor market outcomes, Social influence, Networks
    JEL: J15 Z10 D02
    Date: 2016–12
  5. By: Gräbner, Claudius
    Abstract: Analyzing economic systems from an evolutionary-institutional or a complexity perspective are two complementary approaches to economic inquiry. Three arguments in favor of this hypothesis are discussed: (i) eminent institutional economists have considered the economy as what today could be considered a complex system; (ii) complexity economists lack meta-theoretical foundations which could be provided by institutionalist theory; (iii) institutional economists could benefit from using methods of complexity economics. In this context I argue that scholars considering the economy to be complex should seek to explain it by discovering social mechanisms instead of focusing on prediction. For the discrimination between alternative explanations, scholars should refer to the deepness of an explanation, rather than to Occam’s razor.
    Keywords: Evolutionary-Institutional economics, Philosophy of science, Systemism, Agent-Based Computational Economics, Complexity Economics
    JEL: B25 B41 B52
    Date: 2016–12–15
  6. By: Lothar Grall (Justus Liebig University Giessen)
    Abstract: This paper proposes somatic capital as a hitherto neglected variable in the discussion of factors impacting the timing of the Neolithic transition. It develops an evolutionary growth theory that builds on the trade-off between the quantity and the quality of offspring. The theory suggests that harsh climatic conditions during the ice age raised skill-intensity of the environment and altered the evolutionary optimal allocation of resources from offspring quantity to offspring quality. Higher somatic investment in offspring increased the innovation capability of individuals and ultimately accelerated the rate of technological progress. Thus, the adaptive response triggered within human populations living in cold and harsh climate for thousands of years had a significant impact on the timing of the Neolithic transition. The theory further suggests that differential somatic investment can be identified as deep-rooted determinant of comparative economic development.
    Keywords: Economic Growth, Human Evolution, Ice Age Climate, Neolithic Revolution, Out-of-Africa Expansion, Somatic Capital, Skill-Intensity, Technological Progress
    JEL: J10 O10 O30
    Date: 2016
  7. By: Hanappi, Hardy; Scholz-Waeckerle, Manuel
    Abstract: In this paper we present the major theoretical and methodological pillars of evolutionary political economy. We proceed in four steps. Aesthetics: In chapter 1 the immediate appeal of evolutionary political economy as a specific scientific activity is described. Content: Chapter 2 explores the object of investigation of evolutionary political economy. Power: The third chapter develops the interplay between politics and economics. Methods: Chapter 4 focusses on the evolution of methods necessary for evolutionary political economy. The conclusion positions the field of evolutionary political economy – as we proposed to establish it in this paper - within the wider area of scientific activity. In particular, demarcation lines towards some fashionable economic schools (institutionalism, behavioural economics, post-Keynesianism, etc.) are indicated.
    Keywords: Evolutionary Theory, Political Economy, Methodology of Social Sciences
    JEL: B00 B52 C63
    Date: 2015–10–31
  8. By: Lothar Grall (Justus Liebig University Giessen)
    Abstract: This paper suggests that feedback effects between technological progress and human longevity lie at the heart of their common emergence in human history. It connects two major research questions. First, the long life span after menopause is a unique but puzzling feature of humans among primates. Second, the shift in human behavior at least 50,000 years ago, which led to an unprecedented pace of technological progress, is still not well understood. The paper develops an evolutionary growth theory that builds on the trade-off between the quantity and the quality of offspring. It suggests that early technological advances gradually increased the importance of intergenerational transfers of knowledge. Eventually, the fertility advantage shifted towards individuals that were characterized by higher parental investment in offspring and a significant post-reproductive life span. Subsequently, the rise in human longevity reinforced the process of development and laid the foundations for sustained technological progress. As a key feature, the theory resolves the debate about a “revolution” in human behavior in an entirely new way. It shows that a gradual emergence of modern behavior is sufficient to trigger a demographic shift that appears as a “behavioral revolution” in the archeological record.
    Keywords: Behavioral Revolution, Economic Growth, Human Longevity, Natural Selection, Somatic Investment, Technological Progress.
    JEL: J13 N30 O10 O30
    Date: 2016

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