nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2017‒11‒26
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The Evolution of Cooperation: The Role of Costly Strategy Adjustments By Yaroslav Rosokha; Julian Romero
  2. Structural change and economic growth in the British economy before the Industrial Revolution, 1500-1800 By Wallis, Patrick; Colson, Justin; Chilosi, David
  3. Fairness, social norms and the cultural demand for redistribution By Gilles Le Garrec
  4. The Health Costs of Ethnic Distance: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa By Joseph Flavian Gomes
  5. Reasoning about Others’ Reasoning By Larbi Alaoui; Antonio Penta
  6. Was the first industrial revolution a conjuncture in the history of the world economy? By O'Brien, Patrick

  1. By: Yaroslav Rosokha; Julian Romero
    Abstract: We study the evolution of cooperation in the inde nitely repeated prisoner's dilemma when it is costly for players to adjust their strategy. Our experimental interface allows subjects to design a comprehensive strategy that then selects ac- tions for them in every period. We conduct lab experiments in which subjects can adjust their strategies during a repeated game but may incur a cost for doing so. We nd three main results. First, subjects learn to cooperate more when adjustments are costless than when they are costly. Second, subjects make more adjustments to their strategies when adjustments are costless, but they still make adjustments even when they are costly. Finally, we nd that cooperative strategies emerge over time when adjustments are costless but not when adjustments are costly. These results highlight that within-game experimentation and learning are critical to the rise of cooperative behavior. We provide simulations based on an evolutionary algorithm to support these results.
    Keywords: Inde nitely Repeated Games, Prisoner's Dilemma, Experiments, Co- operation, Strategies
    Date: 2017–07
  2. By: Wallis, Patrick; Colson, Justin; Chilosi, David
    Abstract: Structural transformation is a key indicator of economic development. We present the first time series of male labour sectoral shares for England and Wales before 1800, using a large sample of probate and apprenticeship data to produce national and county-level estimates. England experienced a rapid decline in the share of workers in agriculture between the early seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries, associated with rising agricultural and especially industrial productivity; Wales saw few changes. Our results show that England experienced unusually early structural change and highlight the mid-seventeenth century as a turning point.
    JEL: N0 F3 G3
    Date: 2017–09–28
  3. By: Gilles Le Garrec (OFCE Sciences Po)
    Keywords: Redistribution, fairness, majority rule, social norms, endogenous preferences
    JEL: H53 D63 D72 D03
    Date: 2017–09
  4. By: Joseph Flavian Gomes
    Abstract: We show that ethnic distances lead to worse child health outcomes by impeding access to health-related information. We combine individual level micro data from DHS surveys for fourteen sub-Saharan African countries, with a high-resolution dataset on the spatial distribution of ethnic groups at the 1 × 1 sq. km level constructed using an Iterative Proportional Fitting algorithm. We show that children whose mothers are linguistically more distant to their neighbours face higher mortality rates and are shorter in size. Linguistically distant mothers are also less likely to know about the oral rehydration product for treating children with diarrhoea.
    Keywords: ethnic distance, linguistic distance, linguistic diversity, ethnic inequality, child mortality, African development, health inequalities
    JEL: I14 O10 O15 Z10 Z13
    Date: 2017–11
  5. By: Larbi Alaoui; Antonio Penta
    Abstract: Recent experiments suggest that level-k behavior is often driven by subjects' beliefs, rather than their binding cognitive bounds. But the extent to which this is true in general is not completely understood, mainly because disentangling 'cognitive' and 'behavioral' levels is challenging experimentally and theoretically. In this paper we provide a simple experimental design strategy (the 'tutorial method') to disentangle the two concepts purely based on subjects' choices. We also provide a 'replacement method' to assess whether the increased sophistication observed when stakes are higher is due to an increase in subjects' own understanding or their beliefs over others' increased incentives to reason. We find evidence that, in some of our treatments, the cognitive bound is indeed binding for a large fraction of subjects. Furthermore, a significant fraction of subjects do take into account others' incentives to reason. Our findings also suggest that in general, level-k behavior should not be taken as driven either by cognitive limits alone or beliefs alone. Rather, there is an interaction between own cognitive bound and reasoning about the opponent's reasoning process. From a methodological viewpoint, the tutorial and replacement methods have broader applicability, and can be used to study the beliefs-cognition dichotomy and higher order beliefs e ects in non level-k settings as well.
    Keywords: cognitive bound, depth of reasoning, higher-order beliefs. level-k reasoning, replacement method, tutorial method
    JEL: C72 C92 D80
    Date: 2017–11
  6. By: O'Brien, Patrick
    Keywords: industrial revolution; great divergence; global economic history; China; agricultural development; overseas trade; external security; naval hegemony; mercantilism; warfare; taxation; national debt; technological innovation
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2017–03

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