nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2017‒10‒08
seven papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. An Evolutionary Analysis of the Assignment of Property Rights By Atsushi Tsuneki
  2. Choosing Who You Are: The Structure and Behavioral Effects of Revealed Identification Preferences By Hett, Florian; Kröll, Markus; Mechtel, Mario
  3. Culture, Diffusion, and Economic Development: The Problem of Observational Equivalence By Ani Harutyunyan; Ömer Özak
  4. Revisiting Easterly and Levine (1997): Replication and extension By MILLRINE, Mark; VUJIC, Suncica
  5. Explaining the Mechanism of Growth in the Past Two Million Years Vol. I By Ron W. Nielsen
  6. Less is More? The child quantity-quality trade-off in early 20th century England and Wales By Fernihough, Alan
  7. Scarring and Selection in the Great Irish Famine By Matthias Blum; Christopher L. Colvin; Eoin McLaughlin

  1. By: Atsushi Tsuneki
    Abstract: We develop an evolutionary game model to reveal the theoretical basis for the assignment of property right, where both plaintiff and defendant argue for their rights by claiming their reliance investment. We allow for the possibility that the value of the total product depend not only on the investment conferred by the owner but also on the reliance investment provided by the trespasser. The resulting evolutionary stable set of preferences shows that the endowment effect hardwired to the owners and trespassers depends on the difference of productivities among both parties and the density of owners within the population.
  2. By: Hett, Florian; Kröll, Markus; Mechtel, Mario
    Abstract: Social identity is an important driver of behavior. But where do difierences in social identity come from? We use a novel laboratory experiment based on a revealed preference approach to analyze how individuals choose their identity. Facing a trade-off between monetary payments and belonging to difierent groups, individuals are willing to forego significant earnings to avoid certain groups and thereby reveal their identification preferences. We then show that these identification preferences are systematically related to behavioral heterogeneity in group-specific social preferences. These results illustrate the importance of identification as a choice and its relevance for explaining individual behavior.
    Keywords: Social Identity,Identification,Social Preferences,Outgroup Discrimination
    JEL: C91 C92 D03
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Ani Harutyunyan (LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance at KU Leuven); Ömer Özak (Southern Methodist University)
    Abstract: This research explores the direct and barrier effects of culture on economic development. It shows both theoretically and empirically that whenever the technological frontier is at the top or bottom of the world distribution of a cultural value, there exists an observational equivalence between absolute cultural distances and cultural distances relative to the frontier, preventing the identification of its direct and barrier effects. Since the technological frontier usually has the ``right'' cultural values for development, it tends to be in the extremes of the distribution of cultural traits, generating observational equivalence and confounding the analysis. These results highlight the difficulty of disentangling the direct and barrier effects of culture. The empirical analysis finds suggestive evidence for direct effects of individualism and conformity with hierarchy, and barrier effects of hedonism.
    Keywords: Comparative economic development, cultural differences, barriers to technological diffusion, individualism, power distance, vertical hierarchy, hedonism, linguistic distance
    JEL: O10 O11 O20 O33 O40 O47 O57 Z10
    Date: 2017–04
  4. By: MILLRINE, Mark; VUJIC, Suncica
    Abstract: We replicate and extend the findings from Easterly and Levine (1997) arguing that ethnolinguistic fractionalization is negatively associated with several development indicators. We re-estimate the authors’ original regressions and control for several determinants of development which are correlated with ethnolinguistic fractionalization: a country’s level of partitioning (proportion of the population who belong to ethnic groups split by borders), its colonial history (whether it was formerly a colony) and regional effects (whether it is located in Africa or Latin America). In contrast with Easterly and Levine (1997), we find no evidence that ethnolinguistic fractionalization is associated with any of the development indicators. Rather, for each development indicator where, in comparison with Easterly and Levine (1997), ethnolinguistic fractionalization loses its statistical significance, we find that one of our control variables is statistically significant and takes the expected sign given the correlation between ethnolinguistic fractionalization and the control variable. Our results therefore raise the possibility that the original estimates from Easterly and Levine (1997) suffer from omitted variable bias in that they misattribute the effect of partitioning, colonial history and regional effects to the level of ethnolinguistic fractionalization.
    Keywords: Economic development, Public policy, Ethnic diversity
    JEL: J15 J18 Z13
    Date: 2017–07
  5. By: Ron W. Nielsen
    Abstract: Economic growth and the growth of human population in the past 2,000,000 years are extensively examined. Data are found to be in a clear contradiction of the currently accepted explanations of the mechanism of growth, which revolve around two fundamental but incorrect doctrines: (1) the doctrine of stagnation (inappropriately labelled also as Malthusian stagnation, because Malthus never claimed that his positive checks would cause a long-lasting and wide-spread stagnation) and (2) the doctrine of explosion described also as a takeoff, sprint, spike or by other similar attributes. These doctrines and other related postulates are contradicted even by precisely the same data, which are used in the economic research and by the research results published in a prestigious scientific journal as early as in 1960. The generally accepted explanations are not based on a rigorous analysis of data but on impressions created by the easily misleading features of hyperbolic distributions. Two leading theories: the Demographic Transitions Theory (or Model) and the Unified Growth Theory are fundamentally incorrect. Descriptions of the past socio-economic conditions are not questioned. They might have been harsh, difficult and primitive but they are not reflected in the growth trajectories. They did not create stagnation in the economic growth and in the growth of population. Likewise, impacts of the Industrial Revolution on many aspects of life are not questioned. It is only demonstrated that this event had absolutely no impact on shaping growth trajectories. A general law of growth is formulated and used to explain the mechanism of growth of human population and of economic growth. The growth was predominantly hyperbolic. Such a growth is described by exceptionally simple mathematical function and the explanation of the mechanism of growth turns out to be also simple.
    Date: 2017–09
  6. By: Fernihough, Alan
    Abstract: Whilst the child quantity-quality (QQ) model is theoretically well-established, the empirical literature offers only partial support. Motivated by the limited causal empirical evidence in both historic and contemporary societies, this study examines the relationship connecting fertility and child quality for individual families in England and Wales at the start of the 20th century. Using data from the 1911 census returns, I estimate whether reductions in family size reduce the probability of leaving school. To account for the endogenous nature of fertility decisions, I use the sex composition of the first two births in families with at least two children as an instrumental variable (IV) for family size. Overall, I find evidence in support of a child QQ effect, as children in the 13-15 age cohort born into smaller families were more likely remain in school. Whilst the IV results are very similar to the non-IV ones, one drawback is that the IV estimates are quite imprecise.
    Keywords: Quantity-Quality,Human Capital,Demographic Transition
    JEL: J10 N3 O10
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Matthias Blum (Queen’s University Belfast); Christopher L. Colvin (Queen’s University Belfast); Eoin McLaughlin (School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St. Andrews)
    Abstract: What impact do famines have on survivors? We use individual-level data on a population exposed to severe famine conditions during infancy to document two opposing effects. The first: exposure to insufficient food and a worsened disease environment is associated with poor health into adulthood – a scarring effect. The second: famine survivors do not themselves suffer any health impact – a slection effect. Anthropometric evidence from records pertaining to over 21,000 subjects born before, during and after the Great Irish Famine (1845-52), one of modern history’s most severe famine episodes, suggests that selection is strongest where famine mortality is highest. Individuals born in heavily-affected areas experienced no measurable stunted growth, while significant scarring was found only among those born in regions where the same famine did not result in any excess mortality.
    Keywords: famine, fetal origins hypothesis, anthropometrics, economic history, Ireland
    JEL: I15 I32 N33 Q54
    Date: 2017–09

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