nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2018‒04‒23
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Diversity & empire: Baltic Germans & comparative development By Vitola, Alise; Grigoriadis, Theocharis
  2. Religious & Cultural Leaders By Anja Prummer;
  3. A Not so Myopic Axiomatization of Discounting By Jean-Pierre Drugeon; Thai Ha-Huy
  4. In a variety of individual decision contexts, people have been shown to exhibit presentbiased time preferences. Little is known, however, about discounting when there are trade-offs between own and others' consumption. In this paper, we provide a systematic analysis of present bias in individual and social contexts, as well as its stability across these two. In a longitudinal experiment, subjects make a series of intertemporal allocation decisions of real-effort tasks for varying prices using a convex budget set approach. We find a substantial present bias in generosity. In generalized dictator games, subjects behave more altruistically towards others when deciding in advance rather than in the present, while delaying consequences plays no role when choices only affect the future. At the individual level, we find that the present bias displayed in social contexts is correlated with present bias in intertemporal choices that only affect own consumption. This demonstrates that the desire for immediate gratification is a behavioral phenomenon that is stable across contexts. By Felix Koelle; Lukas Wenner

  1. By: Vitola, Alise; Grigoriadis, Theocharis
    Abstract: In this paper, we explore the long-run effects of cultural and imperial legacies in the Baltic region. Drawing evidence from the 1897 population census in the Russian Empire, we find that localities with a higher share of German historical population are inclined to be more developed in contemporary Latvia and Estonia. Furthermore, based on the Life-In-Transition Survey (LiTS), we use robust regression discontinuity and identify persistent differential patterns of socioeconomic and political preferences across the borders of the former imperial territories of Estland, Livonia (Swedish Livonia), Letgallia (Polish Livonia) and Courland. Hence, we argue for the persistence of legacies as drivers of divergent development paths in the regions of Latvia and Estonia.
    Keywords: Baltic Germans,diversity,empire,development,culture
    JEL: N43 O57 P51
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Anja Prummer (Queen Mary University of London);
    Abstract: This paper surveys the existing literature on religious and cultural leaders. It discusses potential motivations of a leader and highlights that irrespective of his/her exact motivations, the presence of a leader is crucial for the cultural heterogeneity of a society. The impact of discrimination and government transfers on cultural integration is discussed. Last, the survey examines when religious and cultural leaders emerge.
    Keywords: Religious Leaders, Cultural Integration
    JEL: J15 Z10 D02
    Date: 2018–02–19
  3. By: Jean-Pierre Drugeon (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Thai Ha-Huy (EPEE - Centre d'Etudes des Politiques Economiques - UEVE - Université d'Évry-Val-d'Essonne)
    Abstract: This article builds an axiomatization of inter-temporal trade-offs that makes an explicit account of the distant future and therefore encompasses motives related to sustainability, transmission to offsprings and altruism. The focus is on separable representations and the approach is completed following a decision-theory index based approach that is applied to utility streams. This enlightens the limits of the commonly used tail intensity requesites for the evaluation of utility streams: in this article, these are supersed and replaced by an axiomatic approach to optimal myopia degrees that in its turn precedes the determination of optimal discount. The overall approach is anchored in the new and explicit proof of a temporal decomposition of the preference orders between the distant future and the close future itself directly related to the determination of the optimal myopia degrees. The argument is shown to provide a novel understanding of temporal biases with the scope for a distant future bias when the finite dimensional gets influenced by the infinite dimensional. The reference to robust orders and pessimism-like axioms finally allows for determining tractable representations for the indexes.
    Abstract: JEL Codes: D11, D15, D90.
    Keywords: Discount,Temporal Order Decompositions,Infinite Dimensional Topologies,Axiomatization,Myopia
    Date: 2018–04
  4. By: Felix Koelle (University of Cologne); Lukas Wenner (University of Cologne)
    Keywords: Present bias; altruism; stability; real effort; dictator game; intertemporal choice
    Date: 2018–02

This nep-evo issue is ©2018 by Matthew Baker. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.