nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2017‒04‒09
eight papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. State History and Contemporary Conflict: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa By Emilio Depetris-Chauvin
  2. Choice of the Group Increases Intra-Cooperation By Babkina, Tatiana; Myagkov, Mikhail; Lukinova, Evgeniya; Peshkovskaya, Anastasiya; Menshikova, Olga; Berkman, Elliot T.
  3. Endogenous Innovation: The Creative Response, By Antonelli, Crisiano
  4. Geographical Origins and Economic Consequences of Language Structures By Assaf Sarid; Oded Galor
  5. The love for children hypothesis and the multiplicity of fertility rates. By Paolo Melindi Ghidi; Thomas Seegmuller
  6. Using Personality Questionnaires in Experiments -- Limits and Potentials By Müller, Julia; Schwieren, Christiane
  7. Decomposing culture: An analysis of gender, language, and labor supply in the household By Gay, Victor; Hicks, Daniel L.; Santacreu-Vasut, Estefania; Shoham, Amir
  8. Heritability of time preference: Evidence from German twin data By Hübler, Philipp

  1. By: Emilio Depetris-Chauvin
    Abstract: I examine empirically the role of historical political centralization on the likelihood of contemporary civil conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa. I combine a wide variety of historical sources to construct an original measure of long-run exposure to statehood at the sub-national level. I then exploit variation in this new measure along with geo-referenced conflict data to document a robust negative relationship between long-run exposure to statehood and contemporary conflict. From a variety of identification strategies, I provide evidence suggesting that the relationship is causal. I argue that regions with long histories of statehood are better equipped with mechanisms to establish and preserve order. I provide two pieces of evidence consistent with this hypothesis. First, regions with relatively long historical exposure to statehood are less prone to experience conflict when hit by a negative economic shock. Second, exploiting contemporary individual-level survey data, I show that within-country long historical statehood experience is linked to people’s positive attitudes toward state institutions and traditional leaders.
    JEL: D74 N47 O10 O17 Z10
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Babkina, Tatiana; Myagkov, Mikhail; Lukinova, Evgeniya; Peshkovskaya, Anastasiya; Menshikova, Olga; Berkman, Elliot T.
    Abstract: This research investigates how variation in sociality, or the degree to which one feels belonging to a group, affects the propensity for participation in collective action. By bringing together rich models of social behavior from social psychology with decision modeling techniques from economics, these mechanisms can ultimately foster cooperation in human societies. While variation in the level of sociality surely exists across groups, little is known about whether and how it changes behavior in the context of various economic games. Specifically, we found some socialization task makes minimal group members behavior resemble that of an established group. Consistent with social identity theory, we discovered that inducing this type of minimal sociality among participants who were previously unfamiliar with each other increased social identity, and sustained cooperation rates in the newly formed groups to the point that they were comparable to those in the already established groups. Our results demonstrate that there are relatively simple ways for individuals in a group to agree about appropriate social behavior, delineate new shared norms and identities.
    Keywords: collective action, group formation, cooperation
    JEL: C01 D0 D23 D50
    Date: 2016–07–18
  3. By: Antonelli, Crisiano (University of Turin)
    Abstract: The limits of both evolutionary approaches, based upon biological metaphors, and the new growth theory based on the early economics of knowledge, are becoming apparent. Considerable progress can be made by implementing an evolutionary complexity approach that builds upon the legacy of Schumpeter (1947) with the notions of: i)reactive decision making; ii) multiple feedback; iii) innovation as the outcome of an emergent system process rather than individual action; iv);organized complexity and knowledge connectivity; iv) endogenous variety; vi) non ergodic path dependent dynamics. Building upon these bases, the paper articulates an endogenous theory of innovation centered upon the analysis of the systemic conditions that make the creative reaction and hence the introduction of innovations possible.
    Date: 2017–03
  4. By: Assaf Sarid (Department of Economics, University of Haifa); Oded Galor (Department of Economics, Brown University)
    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 re ected past human experience and ancestral cultural traits, they have independently a ected human behavior and economic outcomes.
    Keywords: Comparative Development, Cultural Evolution, Language Structure, Future Tense, Po- liteness Distinctions, Grammatical Gender, Human Capital, Education
    JEL: D01 D03 J16 Z10 Z13
  5. By: Paolo Melindi Ghidi; Thomas Seegmuller
    Abstract: As illustrated by some French departments, how can we explain the existence of equilibria with different fertility and growth rates in economies with the same fun苓amentals, preferences, technologies and initial conditions? To answer this question we develop an endogenous growth model with altruism and love for children. We show that independently from the type of altruism, a multiplicity of equilibria might emerge if the degree of love for children is high enough. We refer to this condition as the love for children hypothesis. Then, the fertility rate is determined by expec負ations on the future growth rate and the dynamics are not path-dependent. Our model is able to reproduce different fertility behaviours in a context of completed demographic transition independently from fundamentals, preferences, technologies and initial conditions.
    Keywords: Fertility, Love for Children, Expectations, Endogenous Growth, Balanced Growth Path.
    JEL: J13
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Müller, Julia; Schwieren, Christiane
    Abstract: Growing interest in using personality variables in economic research has led to the question whether personality as measured by psychology is useful to predict economic behavior. It is undoubted that personality can influence large-scale economic outcomes. Whether personality variables can also be used to understand micro-behavior in economic games is, however, less clear. We discuss the reasons for and against this assumption. In the framework of our own experiment, we test whether and which personality factors are useful in predicting behavior in the Trust Game. We can also use the Trust Game to understand how personality measures fare relatively in predicting behavior when situational constraints are strong or weak. This approach can help economists to better understand what to expect from the inclusion of personality variables in their models and experiments, and where further research might be useful and needed.
    Keywords: Personality, Big Five, Five Factor Model, Incentives, Experiment, Trust Game
    JEL: C72 C91 D03
    Date: 2017–04–05
  7. By: Gay, Victor; Hicks, Daniel L.; Santacreu-Vasut, Estefania; Shoham, Amir
    Abstract: Despite broad progress in closing many dimensions of the gender gap around the globe, recent research has shown that traditional gender roles can still exert a large influence on female labor force participation, even in developed economies. This paper empirically analyzes the role of culture in determining the labor market engagement of women within the context of collective models of household decision making. In particular, we use the epidemiological approach to study the relationship between gender in language and labor market participation among married female immigrants to the U.S. We show that the presence of gender in language can act as a marker for culturally acquired gender roles and that these roles are important determinants of household labor allocations. Female immigrants who speak a language with sex-based grammatical rules exhibit lower labor force participation, hours worked, and weeks worked. Our strategy of isolating one component of culture reveals that roughly two thirds of this relationship can be explained by correlated cultural factors, including the role of bargaining power in the household and the impact of ethnic enclaves, and that at most one third is potentially explained by language having a causal impact.
    Keywords: Culture, Female labor force participation, Immigrants, Language structure, Grammar
    JEL: J16 J22 J61 Z13
    Date: 2017–03–18
  8. By: Hübler, Philipp
    Abstract: Intergenerational correlations of time preference are well documented. However, there is still limited empirical evidence about the role of genetics in this transmission process. In our paper, we use data on roughly 3,000 twins from the German TwinLife project to estimate the heritability of time preference. We rely on an experimentally validated survey measure of temporal discounting, namely, self-assessed patience. The analysis of monozygotic and dizygotic twins enables us to apply standard biometric models. We find that genetic differences explain up to 23 percent of individual variation in patience. Whereas the additive genetic effect and common environmental effects are of minor importance, a major dominant genetic effect is present. These results indicate a notable degree of genetic infuence on economic time preferences.
    Keywords: Twin study; genetics; heritability; patience; time preference
    JEL: D10 D90 J10 Z10
    Date: 2017–03–15

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