nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2017‒04‒02
ten papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The Origins and Long-Run Consequences of the Division of Labor By Emilio Depetris-Chauvin; Ömer Özak
  2. Global Population Growth, Technology, and Malthusian Constraints: A Quantitative Growth Theoretic Perspective By Bruno Lanz; Simon Dietz; Tim Swanson
  3. Geographical Origins and Economic Consequences of Language Structures By Sarid, Assaf; Galor, Oded; Ozak, Omer
  4. Why Are Indian Children So Short? By Seema Jayachandran; Rohini Pande
  5. Malaria and Early African Development: Evidence from Sickle Cell Trait By Emilio Depetris-Chauvin; David N. Weil
  6. Capital-Skill Complementarity and the Emergence of Labor Emancipation By Quamrul H. Ashraf; Francesco Cinnirella; Oded Galor; Boris Gershman; Erik Hornung
  7. An Evolutionary Approach to International Environmental Agreements with Full Participation By Hsiao-Chi Chen; Shi-Miin Liu
  8. Inequality, redistribution and cultural integration in the Welfare State By Bisin, Alberto; Verdier, Thierry
  9. Skill Premium and Technological Change in the Very Long Run: 1300-1914 By Rui Luo
  10. The Relationship between Psychology and Economics: Insights from the History of Economic Thought By Drakopoulos, Stavros A.; Katselidis, Ioannis

  1. By: Emilio Depetris-Chauvin; Ömer Özak
    Abstract: This research explores the historical roots and persistent effects of the division of labor in premodern societies. Exploiting a novel ethnic-level dataset, which combines geocoded ethnographic, linguistic and genetic data, it advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that population diversity had a positive effect on the division of labor, which translated into persistent differences in economic development. Specifically, it establishes that pre-modern economic specialization was conducive to pre-modern statehood, urbanization and social hierarchy. Moreover, it demonstrates that higher levels of pre-modern economic specialization are associated with greater skill-biased occupational heterogeneity, economic complexity and economic development in the contemporary era.
    JEL: O10 O40 O43 O44 Z10 Z13
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Bruno Lanz; Simon Dietz; Tim Swanson
    Abstract: How much further will the global population expand, will we exhaust natural land reserves, and what is the role in this story of economic growth? We study the interactions between global population, technological progress, per-capita income, and agricultural land expansion from 1960 to 2100. This provides a first integrative view of future population development in the context of modern growth theory, and thus a novel perspective on a key driver of future resource scarcity. We structurally estimate a two-sector Schumpeterian growth model with endogenous fertility and finite natural land reserves, in which a manufacturing sector provides a consumption good and an agricultural sector provides food to sustain contemporaneous population. The model closely replicates 1960-2010 data on world population, GDP, productivity growth and crop land area, and we employ the model to make projections from 2010 to 2100. Results suggests a slowdown of technological progress, and, because it is the main driver of a transition to a regime with low population growth, significant population growth over the whole century. Global population is slightly below 10 billion by 2050, further growing to 12 billion by 2100. As population and per capita income grow, demand for agricultural output almost doubles over the century, but the land constraint does not bind because of capital investment and technological progress.
    Keywords: Aggregate / global model, Growth, Forecasting and projection methods
    Date: 2015–07–01
  3. By: Sarid, Assaf; Galor, Oded; Ozak, Omer
    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 returns to agricultural investment, gender gaps in agricultural productivity, and the emergence of hierarchical societies, are at the root of existing cross-language variations in the structure of the future tense and the presence of grammatical gender and politeness distinctions. Moreover, the research suggests that while language structures have largely reflected past human experience and ancestral cultural traits, they have independently affected human behavior and economic outcomes.
    Keywords: Comparative development; Cultural Evolution; education; Future Tense; Grammatical Gender; Human Capital; Language Structure; Politeness Distinctions
    JEL: D01 D03 J16 Z10 Z13
    Date: 2017–03
  4. By: Seema Jayachandran; Rohini Pande (Center for International Development at Harvard University)
    Abstract: India's child stunting rate is among the highest in the world, exceeding that of many poorer African countries. In this paper, we analyze data for over 174,000 Indian and Sub-Saharan African children to show that Indian firstborns are taller than African firstborns; the Indian height disadvantage emerges with the second child and then increases with birth order. This pattern persists when we compare height between siblings, and also holds for health inputs such as vaccinations. Three patterns in the data indicate that India's culture of eldest son preference plays a key role in explaining the steeper birth order gradient among Indian children and, consequently, the overall height deficit. First, the Indian firstborn height advantage only exists for sons. Second, an Indian son with an older sibling is taller than his African counterpart if and only if he is the eldest son. Third, the India-Africa height deficit is largest for daughters with no older brothers, which reflects that fact that their families are those most likely to exceed their desired fertility in order to have a son.
    Date: 2015–04
  5. By: Emilio Depetris-Chauvin; David N. Weil
    Abstract: We examine the effect of malaria on economic development in Africa over the very long run. Using data on the prevalence of the mutation that causes sickle cell disease we measure the impact of malaria on mortality in Africa prior to the period in which formal data were collected. Our estimate is that in the more afflicted regions, malaria lowered the probability of surviving to adulthood by about ten percentage points, which is roughly twice the current burden of the disease. The reduction in malaria mortality has been roughly equal to the reduction in other causes of mortality. We then ask whether the estimated burden of malaria had an effect on economic development in the period before European contact. Examining both mortality and morbidity, we do not find evidence that the impact of malaria would have been very significant. These model-based findings are corroborated by a more statistically-based approach, which shows little evidence of a relationship between malaria ecology and population density or other measures of development, using data measured at the level of ethnic groups.
    Date: 2016
  6. By: Quamrul H. Ashraf (Williams College); Francesco Cinnirella (Ifo Institute); Oded Galor (Brown University); Boris Gershman (American University); Erik Hornung (University of Bayreuth)
    Abstract: This paper advances a novel hypothesis regarding the historical roots of labor emancipation. It argues that the decline of coercive labor institutions in the industrial phase of development has been an inevitable by-product of the intensification of capital-skill complementarity in the production process. In light of the growing significance of skilled labor for fostering the return to physical capital, elites in society were induced to relinquish their historically profitable coercion of labor in favor of employing free skilled workers, thereby incentivizing the masses to engage in broad-based human capital acquisition, without fear of losing their skill premium to expropriation. In line with the proposed hypothesis, exploiting a plausibly exogenous source of variation in early industrialization across regions of nineteenth-century Prussia, capital abundance is shown to have contributed to the subsequent intensity of de facto serf emancipation.
    Keywords: Labor coercion, serfdom, emancipation, industrialization, physical capital accumulation, capital-skill complementarity, demand for human capital, nineteenth-century Prussia
    JEL: J24 J47 N13 N33 O14 O15 O43
    Date: 2017–03
  7. By: Hsiao-Chi Chen (National Taipei University); Shi-Miin Liu (National Taipei University)
    Abstract: Under two often employed imitation mechanisms, we show that an international environmental agreement with full participation can be the unique stochastically stable equilibrium if countries' efficiency of emission reductions is high. By contrast, if the efficiency of emission reduction is low, no agreement among countries to reduce emissions will be the unique stochastically stable equilibrium. We provide the convergence rates to these two equilibria as well. In addition, it is demonstrated that the equilibria are affected by different imitation rules and model's parameters, such as marginal benefits and costs of emission reduction and the number of participating countries.
    Keywords: evolutionary game, international environmental agreement, imitations, mutation, long run equilibrium, stochastically stable
    JEL: C73 Q54
    Date: 2017–03
  8. By: Bisin, Alberto; Verdier, Thierry
    Abstract: This paper constructs a simple theoretical political economy model to analyze the dynamic interactions between redistribution, public good provision and cultural integration of minority groups. Cultural differentiation erodes the support for general public good provision and vertical redistribution, reducing in turn the attractiveness of adoption of the mainstream culture by the minority groups. Our model shows the possibility for multiple politico-cultural steady state trajectories depending strongly on the initial degree of cultural differentiation in the society. An exogenous increase in income inequality is shown to increase the likelihood of multiple steady state trajectories. In a context with multiple minority groups, culltural fragmentation favors integration into the mainstream culture.
    Keywords: cultural integration; inequality; political economy; redistribution
    JEL: J13 J15 Z10
    Date: 2017–03
  9. By: Rui Luo
    Abstract: This paper sets out to explain the historical development of the skill premium in western Europe over a period ranging from the pre-modern era to the modern era (circa 1300 to 1914). We develop a model of the skill premium and technological change over the very long run which endogenously accounts for the transition across different growth regimes in this period. The model integrates two key elements in long-run growth, the human capital investment and the capital-human capital ratio, into the analysis and successfully explains the declining skill premium from 1300 to 1600 and the stable skill premium from 1600 to 1914. The explanation elucidates a number of well-known historical facts that have not been previously examined in the study of the skill premium.
    Keywords: skill premium; technological change; human capital investment; capital-human capital ratio; growth regimes
    JEL: J31 O41 O11
    Date: 2017–03
  10. By: Drakopoulos, Stavros A.; Katselidis, Ioannis
    Abstract: Psychological ideas had always played a role on the formation of economic thought as can be seen in the works of many influential pre-classical and classical authors. Up to the beginning of the 20th century, there was almost no methodological objection regarding the incorporation of ideas from psychology into economic theories. After this period, a fundamental shift in mainstream economics took place which is also known as the Paretian turn. This conceptual change, initiated mainly by Vilfredo Pareto and completed with the emergence of the theories of choice in the first decades of the 20th century, attempted to expel all psychological notions from economic theory. However, in the last three decades, the increasing appeal of subjective well-being research and especially of the new behavioral economics, re-brought the topic onto the surface. In order to better comprehend and to contribute to the recent discussion concerning the relationship between the two disciplines, the study of relevant views found in history of economic thought is necessary. The paper starts with a brief sketch of the history of the relationship between economics and psychology, focusing also to the recent literature which points to a reconsideration of this relationship. After an examination of psychological ideas found in influential pre-marginalist writers, the paper discusses the arguments supporting the case for the interaction between the two fields. It also suggests that the work of Richard Jennings can be seen as the peak of the early interaction between economics and psychology. Finally, it considers the relevance of these arguments for the current debate concerning the relationship between economics and psychology.
    Keywords: History of Economic Thought, Economics and Psychology, Economic Methodology; Relation of Economics to other Disciplines
    JEL: A12 B00 B40
    Date: 2017–03

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