nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2017‒10‒22
five papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Capital-Skill Complementarity and the Emergence of Labor Emancipation By Quamrul H. Ashraf; Francesco Cinnirella; Oded Galor; Boris Gershman; Erik Hornung
  2. Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET), social influence dynamics, and teachers' choices: An evolutionary model By Angelo Antoci; Irene Brunetti; Pierluigi Sacco; Mauro Sodini
  3. The Dark Side of the Force: Evolutionary Equilibrium in Contests with Stochastic Entry By Gu, Yiquan; Hehenkamp, Burkhard; Leininger, Wolfgang
  4. Local Secessions, Homophily, and Growth. A Model with some Evidence from the Regions of Abruzzo and Molise (Italy, 1963) By Dalmazzo, Alberto; de Blasio, Guido; Poy, Samuele
  5. Nonaggregable evolutionary dynamics under payoff heterogeneity By Dai Zusai

  1. By: Quamrul H. Ashraf; Francesco Cinnirella; Oded Galor; Boris Gershman; Erik Hornung
    Abstract: This paper advances a novel hypothesis regarding the historical roots of labor emancipation. It argues that the decline of coercive labor institutions in the industrial phase of development has been an inevitable by-product of the intensification of capital-skill complementarity in the production process. In light of the growing significance of skilled labor for fostering the return to physical capital, elites in society were induced to relinquish their historically profitable coercion of labor in favor of employing free skilled workers, thereby incentivizing the masses to engage in broad-based human capital acquisition, without fear of losing their skill premium to expropriation. In line with the proposed hypothesis, exploiting a plausibly exogenous source of variation in early industrialization across regions of nineteenth-century Prussia, capital abundance is shown to have contributed to the subsequent intensity of de facto serf emancipation.
    Keywords: labor coercion, serfdom, emancipation, industrialization, physical capital accumulation, capital-skill complementarity, demand for human capital, nineteenth-century Prussia
    JEL: J24 J47 N13 N33 O14 O15 O43
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Angelo Antoci; Irene Brunetti; Pierluigi Sacco; Mauro Sodini
    Abstract: The issue of student evaluation of teachers (SET) has been explored by a large literature across many decades. However, the role of social influence factors in determining teachers' responses to a given incentive and evaluation framework has been left basically unexplored. This paper makes a first attempt in this vein by considering an evolutionary game-theoretic context where teachers face a two-stage process where their rating depends on both students' evaluation of their course and on retrospective students' evaluation of their teaching output in view of students' performance in a related follow-up course. We find that both high effort (difficult course offered) and low effort (easy course effort) outcomes may emerge, and that may either lead to a socially optimal outcome for teachers or not, according to cases. Moreover, there may be a potential conflict between the optimal outcome for students and for teachers. We also consider possible ways to generalize our model in future research.
    Keywords: Student evaluation of teachers (SET); teacher effort; teacher motivation; social selection; strategic interaction between teachers.
    JEL: I21 C73 D79
    Date: 2017–01–01
  3. By: Gu, Yiquan; Hehenkamp, Burkhard; Leininger, Wolfgang
    Abstract: We study evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) in contests where participation is stochastic. When participation probabilities are given, players exert more effort In ESS than under Nash. Ex-ante overdissipation occurs when participation is suff. likely and discriminative power of the contest suff. high. When entry is costly and endogenous, players’ entry is more likely, more costly, and less profitable in ESS than under Nash. Ex-ante overdissipation also occurs for concave impact functions.
    JEL: D72 C73
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Dalmazzo, Alberto; de Blasio, Guido; Poy, Samuele
    Abstract: This paper analyses the case of a local secession, i.e. the birth of a new local jurisdiction by separation from an existing one. We present a stylized model in which society is composed of heterogeneous groups and individuals have an homophily bias. The model predicts that: i) separations, such as the split of a territory into distinct administrative units, occur when the costs of mixed communities are sufficiently large; ii) the smaller community drives the decision to secede; iii) welfare gains from the split are associated with positive population growth; iv) higher payoffs under separations, however, might be related to taste for sameness only, with no (or even negative) effect on economic growth. Then, we bring the model to the data by exploiting the secession of the Italian region of Molise from Abruzzo, a unique event in Italian history, which took place in 1963. Historical records document that the split was the result of pressures from Molise, the smaller community. Our evidence suggests that the split was associated with population inflows in both areas. Finally, the main empirical findings, derived by using a synthetic control approach, show that the split caused significant benefits, in both regions, in terms of per-capita GDP growth.
    Keywords: local jurisdictions,secessions,regional growth
    JEL: H77 H10 R11 R12
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Dai Zusai (Department of Economics, Temple University)
    Abstract: We consider general evolutionary dynamics under idiosyncratic but persistent payoff heterogeneity and study the dynamic relation between the strategy composition over different payoff types and the aggregate strategy distribution of the entire population. It is rigorously proven that continuity of the switching rate function or the type distribution guarantees the existence of a unique trajectory. In major evolutionary dynamics except the standard best response dynamic, an agent's switching rate from the current action to a new action increases with the payoff gain from this switch. This payoff sensitivity makes a heterogeneous dynamic nonaggregable: the transition of the aggregate strategy generically depends not only on the current aggregate strategy but also on the current strategy composition. However, if we look at the strategy composition, stationarity of equilibrium in general and stability in potential games hold under any admissible dynamics. In particular, local stability of each individual equilibrium composition under an admissible dynamic is equivalent to that of the corresponding aggregate equilibrium in the aggregate dynamic induced from the standard best response dynamic, though the basin of attraction may differ over different dynamics.
    Keywords: evolutionary dynamics, payoff heterogeneity, aggregation, continuous space, potential games
    JEL: C73 C62 C61
    Date: 2017–10

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