nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2017‒08‒13
five papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Gender: An Historical Perspective By Giuliano, Paola
  2. Understanding Cultural Persistence and Change By Giuliano, Paola; Nunn, Nathan
  3. Intergenerational Transmission of Authoritative Parenting Style: Evidence from Japan By Lin Zhang; Shinsuke Ikeda
  4. Human Needs and the Measurement of Welfare By Fellner, Wolfgang; Goehmann, Benedikt
  5. Evaluations of endogenous efficiency of the norm By Sokolovskyi, Dmytro

  1. By: Giuliano, Paola (University of California, Los Angeles)
    Abstract: Social attitudes toward women vary significantly across societies. This chapter reviews recent empirical research on various historical determinants of contemporary differences in gender roles and gender gaps across societies, and how these differences are transmitted from parents to children and therefore persist until today. We review work on the historical origin of differences in female labor-force participation, fertility, education, marriage arrangements, competitive attitudes, domestic violence, and other forms of difference in gender norms. Most of the research illustrates that differences in cultural norms regarding gender roles emerge in response to specific historical situations, but tend to persist even after the historical conditions have changed. We also discuss the conditions under which gender norms either tend to be stable or change more quickly.
    Keywords: gender, cultural transmission, historical persistence
    JEL: N0 Z1 J16
    Date: 2017–07
  2. By: Giuliano, Paola (University of California, Los Angeles); Nunn, Nathan (Harvard University)
    Abstract: When does culture persist and when does it change? We examine a determinant that has been put forth in the anthropology literature: the variability of the environment from one generation to the next. A prediction, which emerges from a class of existing models from evolutionary anthropology, is that following the customs of the previous generation is relatively more beneficial in stable environments where the culture that has evolved up to the previous generation is more likely to be relevant for the subsequent generation. We test this hypothesis by measuring the variability of average temperature across 20-year generations from 500–1900. Looking across countries, ethnic groups, and the descendants of immigrants, we find that populations with ancestors who lived in environments with more stability from one generation to the next place a greater importance in maintaining tradition today. These populations also exhibit more persistence in their traditions over time.
    Keywords: cultural persistence, cultural change, tradition
    JEL: N10 Q54
    Date: 2017–07
  3. By: Lin Zhang; Shinsuke Ikeda
    Abstract: We examine and verify our hypothesis from a theoretical model that parents are more likely to be authoritative if they are from a wealthy family. Using the data from the Preference Parameters Study of Osaka University, Japan, we find that there are significantly positive associations between respondents’ authoritative parenting style and their family living standards when 15 years old. This result shows how childhood family economic status influences the intergenerational transmission of parenting style.
    Date: 2017–08
  4. By: Fellner, Wolfgang; Goehmann, Benedikt
    Abstract: Adam Smith considered consumption the sole end and purpose of all production. Concerning the measurement of welfare, this requires a sound understanding of the connection between consumption and welfare. The consumerist conceptualization of this connection implies that the amount of consumption equals welfare and the level of production can be an indicator for welfare. The limits and problems of production measures are widely accepted. Yet, indicators like GDP remain the focus of mainstream economic theory and policy. We trace the origin of this lock-in back to the economic model of behaviour and the concept of agency in mainstream economics. The suggested alternative stems from literature about human needs in heterodox economics and psychology. This literature incorporates the relevance of social aspects and cultural change for welfare. It turns out that consumerism can be a threat to well-being and welfare rather than a requirement for it.
    Keywords: economic psychology, capabilities approach; self-determination theory; consumerism; structure vs. agency
    Date: 2017–08
  5. By: Sokolovskyi, Dmytro
    Abstract: In this article the problem of evaluation the efficiency of formal norm is examined. To this purpose the existing definitions of the notion “norm” are analyzed and summarized, their insufficient formalization is noted, whereupon with the approach, using the apparatus of theory of sets and Boolean algebra, a strict definition of the norm, which includes static and dynamic components, is proposed. The description of the norm is extended by the definition of the space of the norm – a group of notions related to the norm. It’s substantiated that these notions shouldn’t be regarded as component parts of the norm. The methods of evaluation the endogenous efficiency of formal norm (rule), basing on an analysis of its internal characteristics, but not on the results of its application is proposed. It’s suggested to determine the quality of the norm at three ways: norm as itself; accordance of the new norm to current ones; easiness of its compliance and easiness of its control. This approach allows identifying potential problematic points of the norm that can lead to difficulties in the future. Using the proposed methods of evaluation of formal norm in areas, where such norms are developed actively (e.g. jurisprudence), can increase the quality of projectable norms, thus reducing costs to their further support. For the already existing norms those methods allow determining their weaknesses. In the theoretical-economic research the apparatus of formalization of norms may be useful in examination of institutional dynamics – namely, the process of institutional change.
    Keywords: norms; institutions; efficiency; evaluation; compliance; deviation; opportunistic behavior; mathematical economics
    JEL: C02 D02 D03
    Date: 2017–07–24

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