nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2018‒02‒05
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Social Structure and Conflict: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa By Jacob Moscona; Nathan Nunn; James A. Robinson
  2. Experiments on cooperation, institutions, and social preferences By Xu, Xue
  3. What is the basis of altruism and cooperation? Links as ultimate goals By Sylvie Thoron
  4. Blockchain Technology - An Instrument of Economic Evolution? By Hegadekatti, Kartik

  1. By: Jacob Moscona; Nathan Nunn; James A. Robinson
    Abstract: We test the long-standing hypothesis that ethnic groups that are organized around `segmentary lineages' are more prone to conflict and civil war. Ethnographic accounts suggest that in segmentary lineage societies, which are characterized by strong allegiances to distant relatives, individuals are obligated to come to the defense of fellow lineage members when they become involved in conflicts. As a consequence, small disagreements often escalate to larger-scale conflicts involving many individuals. We test for this link between segmentary lineage and conflict across 145 African ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a number of estimation strategies, including an RD design at ethnic boundaries, we find that segmentary lineage societies experience more conflicts and ones that are longer in duration and larger in scale. We also find that the previously-documented relationship between adverse rainfall shocks and conflict within Africa is only found within segmentary lineage societies.
    JEL: D74 O55 Z1
    Date: 2018–01
  2. By: Xu, Xue (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: This thesis consists of three chapters in experimental economics. It involves various dimensions in which laboratory experiments can play a role: testing the validity of a game theory, helping understand institutions, and measuring (the change in) social preferences. It relates to the effects of different institutions on cooperation and social preferences. Chapter 2 studies to what extent an overlapping membership structure, which in theory affects the incentives of short-lived players, is conducive to cooperation. Chapter 3 examines whether the presence of decentralized punishment, especially the possibility of retaliating a centralized enforcer, has an impact on the decisions of the enforcer and group cooperation. Chapter 4 studies whether interactions with out-group members matter for in-group-out-group differences in altruism and whether the nature of these interactions matters for in-group-out-group differences.
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Sylvie Thoron (LIPHA - Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire d'Etude du Politique Hannah Arendt Paris-Est - UPEC UP12 - Université Paris-Est Créteil Val-de-Marne - Paris 12 - UPEM - Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée)
    Abstract: Behavioral economics sought to draw inspiration from research on empathy to modify the interactive model of homo oeconomicus. However, it was faced with the impossibility of considering emotions, and emotional empathy in particular, in the framework of a theory of social preferences anchored in the rationality of the interactionist and individualistic model of game theory. This impossibility is due to the fact that game theory first, then behavioral economics, did not want to question the fundamental motives of the individual when he interacts with others. Yet, the question of emotions, and emotional empathy in particular, should lead to questioning the sources of behavior. Indeed, what do the other behavioral sciences tell us? While the survival of the organism is undoubtedly a fundamental objective common to all living things, human beings derive their specificity from the fact that they also have fundamental and pre-wired mechanisms that specialize them for life in interaction with their fellows. It is thanks to these fundamental mechanisms that the human species has been able to develop productive and societal modes of cooperation on a large scale. We propose, therefore, a change of perspective in behavioral economics that would allow to consider that the ultimate objective of the individual in society is not to ensure her survival and needs but rather to create and maintain the links with others.
    Abstract: -Lorsque l’économie comportementale a voulu s’inspirer des recherches sur l’empathie pour modifier le modèle de l’homo oeconomicus en interaction, elle s’est heurtée à l’impossibilité de penser les émotions dans le cadre d’une théorie des préférences sociales toujours ancrée dans la rationalité du modèle individualiste interactionniste de la théorie des jeux. Cette impossibilité est due au fait que la théorie des jeux tout d’abord, puis l’économie comportementale ensuite, n’ont pas voulu remettre en question l’objectif fondamental de l’individu lorsqu’il agit en interaction avec les autres. Or, se pencher sur la question des émotions et de l’empathie émotionnelle en particulier devait amener à remettre en question les ressorts du comportement. Que nous disent en effet les autres sciences du comportement ? Que si la survie de l’organisme est sans doute un objectif fondamental et commun à tous les êtres vivants, ce dernier tire par ailleurs sa spécificité de mécanismes fondamentaux et pré-câblés qui le spécialisent pour la vie en interaction avec ses semblables. Grâce à ces mécanismes fondamentaux l’espèce humaine a pu élaborer des modes de coopération productifs et sociétaux à grande échelle. Nous proposons en conséquence un changement de perspective en économie comportementale qui permettrait de considérer que l’objectif ultime de l’individu en société n’est pas d’assurer sa survie et ses besoins, mais de créer et d’entretenir le lien aux autres.
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Hegadekatti, Kartik
    Abstract: Man has not only evolved biologically and culturally but also economically. Human economy has grown over many centuries through continuous addition of value. This value addition has been an evolutionary factor as it has influenced the formation of the main economic sectors-namely Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. Recently after the advent of Blockchain technology, Bitcoin achieved Gold parity. This paper analyses whether such an event will have any impact on the evolution of our economies. First, I discuss the various sectors of the economy. Then I evaluate how Bitcoin (BTC) achieving Gold Parity (GP) may influence the outcome of future economic scenarios. The paper concludes by summarizing the importance of technology in our economic systems and how technology affects its evolution.
    Keywords: blockchain, economic evolution, bitcoin, K-Y protocol
    JEL: B52 O32 O33 Q55
    Date: 2017–03–31

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