nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2017‒07‒02
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The Diffusion of New Institutions: Evidence from Renaissance Venice's Patent System By Comino, Stefano; Galasso, Alberto; Graziano, Clara
  2. Time Preference and the Process of Civilization By Howden, David; Kampe, Joakim
  3. What Was the Industrial Revolution? By Robert E. Lucas, Jr.
  4. Game theory in the ecological context By Riechert, Susan E.; Hammerstein, Peter
  5. Homo Reciprocans Revisited By Jin Di Zheng
  6. Eradicating Women-Hurting Customs: What Role for Social Engineering? By Auriol, Emmanuelle; Camilotti, Giula; Platteau, Jean-Philippe

  1. By: Comino, Stefano; Galasso, Alberto; Graziano, Clara
    Abstract: What factors affect the diffusion of new economic institutions? This paper examines this question exploiting the introduction of the first regularized patent system which appeared in the Venetian Republic in 1474. We begin by developing a model which links patenting activity of craft guilds with provisions in their statutes. The model predicts that guild statutes that are more effective at preventing outsider's entry and at mitigating price competition lead to less patenting. We test this prediction on a new dataset which combines detailed information on craft guilds and patents in the Venetian Republic during the Renaissance. We find a negative association between patenting activity and guild statutory norms which strongly restrict entry and price competition. We show that guilds which originated from medieval religious confraternities were more likely to regulate entry and competition, and that the effect on patenting is robust to instrumenting guild statutes with their quasi-exogenous religious origin. We also find that patenting was more widespread among guilds geographically distant from Venice, and among guilds in cities with lower political connection which we measure exploiting a new database on noble families and their marriages with members of the great council. Our analysis suggests that local economic and political conditions may have a substantial impact on the diffusion of new economic institutions.
    Keywords: Competition; Guilds; institutions; patents
    JEL: K23 O33 O34
    Date: 2017–06
  2. By: Howden, David; Kampe, Joakim
    Abstract: We begin with an admittedly simplistic statement: “civilization” is best represented by the increased availability of utility providing goods and services. In other words, civilization is synonymous with economic development. This paper concerns three questions. First, how does civilization develop? Second, what is time preference and how does it affect the development of civilization, or what we may call the “process of civilization.” Third, what factors affect time preference, and how do changes in time preference affect this civilizing process? Through these three questions, we provide the theoretical why civilization developed, instead of the more common historical how civilization actually developed.
    Keywords: time preference, interest rates, civilization
    JEL: O12 O19
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Robert E. Lucas, Jr.
    Abstract: At some point in the first half of the 19th century per capita GDP in the United Kingdom and the United States began to grow at something like one to two percent per year and have continued to do so up to the present. Now incomes in many economies routinely grow at 2 percent per year and some grow at much higher “catch-up” rates. These events surely represent a historical watershed, separating a traditional world in which incomes of ordinary working people remained low and fairly stable over the centuries from a modern world where incomes increase for every new generation. This paper uses Gary Becker’s theory of a “quantity/quality trade-off,” consistent both with Malthusian population dynamics (quantity) and with demographic transition (quality), to identify a limited set of forces that were central to this revolution.
    JEL: N00 O11 O40
    Date: 2017–06
  4. By: Riechert, Susan E. (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University); Hammerstein, Peter (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)
    Keywords: Spieltheorie, Ökologie
    Date: 2017–04–04
  5. By: Jin Di Zheng (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Do reciprocal workers work more if their wage compares well to similar workers in the economy? Are they more satisfied with their job? Predictions vary from theories. With a survey dataset with a representative sample of the German population, I construct a reference wage and measures for reciprocity for each worker. Depending on how much more or less a worker earns than the reference, I investigate how effort and job satisfaction react to reciprocity tendencies. The results suggest that a worker's unpaid overtime hours increase with her relative earnings if above the reference; and the more so, the stronger her positive reciprocity tendency is. However, there is no such interaction for negative reciprocity. Job satisfaction is associated with reciprocity, yet insensitive to the interaction between reciprocity and relative income.
    Keywords: reciprocity, effort, satisfaction, reference wage
    JEL: J3 M5
    Date: 2017–04–19
  6. By: Auriol, Emmanuelle; Camilotti, Giula; Platteau, Jean-Philippe
    Abstract: Social engineering refers to deliberate attempts, often under the form of legislative moves, to promote changes in customs and norms that hurt the interests of marginalized population groups. This paper explores the analytical conditions under which social engineering is more or less likely to succeed than more indirect approaches when it comes to suppress gender-biased customs. This implies discussing the main possible interaction frameworks leading to anti-women equilibria, and deriving policy implications from the corresponding games. The theoretical arguments are illustrated by examples drawn from available empirical works, thus providing a reasoned survey of the literature.
    Keywords: coordination incentives; deterrence; expressive function of law; Gender; harmful customs; Social norms
    JEL: D10 K10 K36 O15 Z10 Z13
    Date: 2017–06

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