nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2017‒09‒03
three papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Economic Origins of Cultural Norms: The Case of Animal Husbandry and Bastardy By Eder, Christoph; Halla, Martin
  2. Behavioral Antitrust By Steven Martin
  3. The Rise and Fall of Pellagra in the American South By Karen Clay; Ethan Schmick; Werner Troesken

  1. By: Eder, Christoph (University of Innsbruck); Halla, Martin (University of Innsbruck)
    Abstract: This paper explores the historical origins of the cultural norm regarding illegitimacy (formerly known as bastardy). We test the hypothesis that traditional agricultural production structures influenced the historical illegitimacy ratio, and have had a lasting effect until today. Based on data from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and modern Austria, we show that regions that focused on animal husbandry (as compared to crop farming) had significantly higher illegitimacy ratios in the past, and female descendants of these societies are still more likely to approve illegitimacy and give birth outside of marriage today. To establish causality, we exploit, within an IV approach, variation in the local agricultural suitability, which determined the historical dominance of animal husbandry. Since differences in the agricultural production structure are completely obsolete in today's economy, we suggest interpreting the persistence in revealed and stated preferences as a cultural norm. Complementary evidence from an 'epidemiological approach' suggests that this norm is passed down through generations, and the family is the most important transmission channel. Our findings point to a more general phenomenon that cultural norms can be shaped by economic conditions, and may persist, even if economic conditions become irrelevant.
    Keywords: cultural norms, persistence, animal husbandry, illegitimacy
    JEL: Z1 A13 J12 J13 J43 N33
    Date: 2017–08
  2. By: Steven Martin
    Abstract: In this chapter, I review the rational economic man model and con- trast it with evidence of bounded rationality that has emerged since the last quarter of the previous century. I discuss the implications of bounded rationality for research in industrial economics, with par- ticular attention to the analysis of predation, collusion, and entry. I conclude by drawing implications for the antitrust rules toward domi- nant ?rm behavior that come out of the Matsushita and Brooke Group decisions.
    Keywords: behavioral economics; antitrust; predation; collusion; entry.
    JEL: L1 L4 D9
    Date: 2017–08
  3. By: Karen Clay; Ethan Schmick; Werner Troesken
    Abstract: The result of insufficient niacin consumption, pellagra caused more deaths than any other nutrition-related disease in American history, and it reached epidemic proportions in the South during the early 1900s. In this paper, we explore the forces that drove the rise and fall of pellagra. Historical observers have long-believed that pellagra stemmed from the South’s monoculture in cotton, which displaced the local production of nutritionally-rich foods. To test this hypothesis, we begin by showing that, at the county level, pellagra rates are positively correlated with cotton production. We then exploit the arrival of the boll weevil—which prompted Southern farmers to begin planting food instead of cotton—to show that this correlation is likely causal. We close by studying how fortification laws passed during the 1940s helped to eliminate pellagra.
    JEL: I18 N32 N52 Q12
    Date: 2017–08

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