nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2017‒04‒16
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Let the Girls Learn! It is not Only about Math… It's about Gender Social Norms By Nollenberger, Natalia; Rodríguez-Planas, Núria
  2. Institutional Transplant and Cultural Proximity: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Prussia By Giampaolo Lecce; Laura Ogliari
  3. The Fish is the Friend of Matriliny: Reef Density and Matrilineal Inheritance By Ariel Ben Yishay; Pauline Grosjean; Joe Vecci
  4. The Ideological Roots of Institutional Change By Murat Iyigun; Jared Rubin
  5. Economics and psychology. The framing of decisions By Schilirò, Daniele
  6. The dynamics of revolutions By Moti Michaeli; Daniel Spiro

  1. By: Nollenberger, Natalia (IE University); Rodríguez-Planas, Núria (Queens College, CUNY)
    Abstract: Using PISA test scores from 11,527 second-generation immigrants coming from 35 different countries of ancestry and living in 9 host countries, we find that the positive effects of country-of-ancestry gender social norms on girls' math test scores relative to those of boys: (1) expand to other subjects (namely reading and science); (2) are shaped by beliefs on women's political empowerment and economic opportunity; and (3) are driven by parents' influencing their children's (especially their girls') preferences. Our evidence further suggest that these findings are driven by cognitive skills, suggesting that social gender norms affect parent's expectations on girls' academic knowledge relative to that of boys, but not on other attributes for success--such as non-cognitive skills. Taken together, our results highlight the relevance of general (as opposed to math-specific) gender stereotypes on the math gender gap, and suggest that parents' gender social norms shape youth's test scores by transmitting preferences for cognitive skills.
    Keywords: gender gap in math, reading and science, immigrants, beliefs and preferences, cognitive and non-cognitive skills, culture and institutions
    JEL: I21 I24 J16 Z13
    Date: 2017–03
  2. By: Giampaolo Lecce; Laura Ogliari
    Abstract: The economic impact of exported institutions depends on the underlying cultural environment of the receiving country. We present evidence that cultural proximity between the exporting and the receiving country positively affects the adoption of new institutions and the resulting long-term economic outcomes. We obtain this result by combining new information on pre-Napoleonic kingdoms with county-level census data from nineteenthcentury Prussia. This environment allows us to exploit a quasi-natural experiment generated by radical Napoleonic institutional reforms and deeply rooted cultural heterogeneity across Prussian counties. We show that counties that are culturally more similar to France, in terms of either religious affiliation or historical exposure to French culture, display better long-term economic performance. We analyze a range of alternative explanations and suggest that our findings are most easily explained by cultural proximity facilitating the adoption of new institutions. Keywords: Institutions, Institutional Transplants, Culture, Economic Growth JEL classification: N13, N43, O47, Z10, Z12
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Ariel Ben Yishay (College of William and Mary); Pauline Grosjean (School of Economics, UNSW Business School, UNSW); Joe Vecci (University of Gothenburg)
    Abstract: This paper studies the influence of marine ecology on social institutions of inheritance and descent. In a sample of 79 small-scale horticultural fishing communities in the Solomon Islands, and in samples of 186 to 1,267 societies across the world, we find that coral reef density systematically predicts the prevalence of matrilineal inheritance. Moreover, this result likely reflects adaptation of institutions to ecological conditions, as it holds within ethno-linguistic groups. Reef density explains as much as 10% of the variation in inheritance rules across villages in the Solomon Islands. Explanations based on the sexual division of labor and on inclusive fitness arguments support our results. We also document some of the demographic consequences of matrilineal inheritance, including smaller household and village population size, but find at best weak evidence that matrilineal inheritance translates into higher female economic or political agency.
    Keywords: Social norms, matrilineal inheritance, ecology, marine resources.
    JEL: N50 O10 Q15 Z13
    Date: 2016–10
  4. By: Murat Iyigun (University of Colorado); Jared Rubin (Chapman University)
    Abstract: Why do some societies fail to adopt more e¢ cient institutions in response to changing economic conditions? And why do such conditions sometimes generate ideological backlashes and at other times lead to transformative sociopolitical movements? We propose an explanation that highlights the interplayó or lack thereofó between new technologies, ideologies, and institutions. When new technologies emerge, uncertainty results from a lack of understanding how the technology will Öt with prevailing ideologies and institutions. This uncertainty discourages investment in institutions and the cultural capital necessary to take advantage of new technologies. Accordingly, increased uncertainty during times of rapid technological change may generate an ideological backlash that puts a higher premium on traditional values. We apply the theory to numerous historical episodes, including Ottoman reform initiatives, the Japanese Tokugawa reforms and Meiji Restoration, and the Tongzhi Restoration in Qing China.
    Keywords: Ideology, Institutions, Conservatism, Beliefs, Institutional Change, Technological Change, Uncertainty
    JEL: D02 N40 N70 O33 O38 O43 Z10
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Schilirò, Daniele
    Abstract: In the Theory of Rational Decision Making the psychological aspects are set aside. This contribution seeks to point out the relevance of psychology into economic decisions. The essay treats the "framing of decisions", which is a pillar of Kahneman's behavioral theory. Framing must be considered a special case of the more general phenomenon of dependency from the representation. The best-known risky choice-framing problem, i.e. the "Asian Disease Problem", is shown where an essential aspect of rationality: invariance, is violated. In addition, the contribution explains Kahneman and Tversky's Prospect Theory and illustrates their value function. Finally, it discusses the reversals of preference in framing and framing of contingencies. The framing manipulation is viewed as a public tool for influencing the decision maker's private framing of the problem in terms of gains or losses, which determines the decision maker's evaluation of the options. In conclusion, the psychology of choice is relevant both for the descriptive question of how decisions are made and for the normative question of how decisions ought to be made.
    Keywords: Behavioral Economics; Framing of Decisions; Prospect Theory; Daniel Kahneman.
    JEL: D01 D03 D81
    Date: 2016–12
  6. By: Moti Michaeli (University of Haifa, Department of Economics); Daniel Spiro (Oslo Business School, Norway.)
    Abstract: We study the dynamics of revolutions and mass protests. In a uni ed framework we explain three classes of observed revolutions, two of which are unexplained by earlier models: 1) a revolution initiated by extreme regime opponents dissenting greatly, later joined by moderate dissidents dissenting less; 2) a revolution initiated by moderates dissenting moderately, later joined by extremists; 3) a revolution where extreme regime opponents gradually push the freedom of speech, backed by increased dissent of mod- erates. These match the dynamics of many major revolutions, e.g., the Iranian Islamic Revolution, the fall of the USSR, the Egyptian Arab Spring and the Tiananmen-Square protests
    Keywords: Revolution; Mass protest; Regime; Dissent.
    JEL: D74 P26 P5 Z12

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