nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2018‒05‒21
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Social Norms, Endogenous Sorting and the Culture of Cooperation By Ernst Fehr; Tony Williams
  2. Fairness, social norms and the cultural demand for redistribution By Gilles Le Garrec
  3. The laws of the evolution of research fields By Coccia Mario
  4. God Does Not Play Dice, but Do We? By Backhaus, Teresa; Breitmoser, Yves
  5. CONDITIONS WHERE THE RULED CLASS UNITES FOR THE REVOLUTION -applicability of a game theory on social dilemmas- By Hiroshi Onishi
  6. Norms and Guilt By Anastasia Danilov; Kiryl Khalmetski; Dirk Sliwka

  1. By: Ernst Fehr; Tony Williams
    Abstract: Throughout human history, informal sanctions by peers were ubiquitous and played a key role in the enforcement of social norms and the provision of public goods. However, a considerable body of experimental evidence suggests that informal peer sanctions cause large collateral damage and efficiency costs. This raises the question whether peer sanctioning systems exist that avoid these costs and whether other, more centralized, punishment systems are superior and will be preferred by the people. Here, we show that welfare-enhancing peer sanctioning without much need for costly punishment emerges quickly if we introduce two relevant features of social life into the experiment: (i) subjects can migrate across groups with different sanctioning institutions and (ii) they have the chance to achieve consensus about normatively appropriate behavior. The exogenous removal of the norm consensus opportunity reduces the efficiency of peer punishment and renders centralized sanctioning by an elected judge the dominant institution. However, if given the choice, subjects universally reject peer sanctioning without a norm consensus opportunity – an institution that has hitherto dominated research in this field – in favor of peer sanctioning with a norm consensus opportunity or an equally efficient institution with centralized punishment by an elected judge. Migration opportunities and normative consensus building are key to the quick emergence of an efficient culture of universal cooperation because the more prosocial subjects populate the two efficient institutions first, elect prosocial judges (if institutionally possible), and immediately establish a social norm of high cooperation. This norm appears to guide subjects’ cooperation and punishment choices, including the virtually complete removal of antisocial punishment when judges make the sanctioning decision.
    Keywords: cooperation, punishment ,endogenous institutions, public goods
    JEL: D02 D03 D72 H41
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Gilles Le Garrec (Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques)
    Abstract: When studying attitudes towards redistribution, surveys show that individuals do care about fairness. They also show that the cultural environment in which people grow up affects their preferences about redistribution. In this article we include these two components of the demand for redistribution in order to develop a mechanism for the cultural transmission of the concern for fairness. The preferences of the young are partially shaped through the observation and imitation of others' choices. More specifically, observing during childhood how adults have collectively failed to implement fair redistributive policies lowers the concern during adulthood for fairness or the moral cost of not supporting fair taxation. Based on this mechanism, the model exhibits a multiplicity of history-dependent stationary states that may account for the huge and persistent differences in redistribution observed between Europe and the United States. It also explains why immigrants from countries with a preference for greater redistribution continue to support higher redistribution in their destination country.
    Keywords: Redistribution; Fairness; Majority rule; Social norms; Endogenous preferences
    JEL: H53 D63 D72
    Date: 2017–09
  3. By: Coccia Mario
    Abstract: A fundamental question in the field of social studies of science is how research fields emerge, grow and decline over time and space. This study confronts this question here by developing an inductive analysis of emerging research fields represented by human microbiome, evolutionary robotics and astrobiology. In particular, number of papers from starting years to 2017 of each emerging research field is analyzed considering the subject areas (i.e., disciplines) of authors. Findings suggest some empirical laws of the evolution of research fields: the first law states that the evolution of a specific research field is driven by few scientific disciplines (3- 5) that generate more than 80% of documents (concentration of the scientific production); the second law states that the evolution of research fields is path-dependent of a critical discipline (it can be a native discipline that has originated the research field or a new discipline emerged during the social dynamics of science); the third law states that a research field can be driven during its evolution by a new discipline originated by a process of specialization within science. The findings here can explain and generalize, whenever possible some properties of the evolution of scientific fields that are due to interaction between disciplines, convergence between basic and applied research fields and interdisciplinary in scientific research. Overall, then, this study begins the process of clarifying and generalizing, as far as possible, the properties of the social construction and evolution of science to lay a foundation for the development of sophisticated theories.
    Date: 2018–05
  4. By: Backhaus, Teresa (WZB); Breitmoser, Yves (HU Berlin)
    Abstract: When do we cooperate and why? This question concerns one of the most persistent divides between \"theory and practice\", between predictions from game theory and results from experimental studies. For about 15 years, theoretical analyses predict completely-mixed \"behavior\" strategies, i.e. strategic randomization rendering \"when\" and \"why\" questions largely moot, while experimental analyses seem to consistently identify pure strategies, suggesting long-run interactions are deterministic. Reanalyzing 145,000 decisions from infinitely repeated prisoner\'s dilemma experiments, and using data-mining techniques giving pure strategies the best possible chance, we conclude that subjects play semi-grim behavior strategies similar to those predicted by theory.
    Keywords: repeated game; behavior; tit-for-tat mixed strategy; memory; belief-free equilibrium; laboratory experiment;
    JEL: C72 C73 C92 D12
    Date: 2018–05–11
  5. By: Hiroshi Onishi (Faculty of Economics, Keio University)
    Abstract: Revolutions, typical cases of crucial social transformations, cannot be realized successfully without a large number of activists. Therefore, creating conditions favorable for acquiring enough participants should be an important topic of Marxist social science. In particular, this problem includes the "free-ride," because the benefits of revolutionaries' activities are gained not only by the activists but also by all other members. The paper analyzes problems such as this one, applying non-cooperative game theory to social dilemma problems. This leads to some interesting results. In this research, the problem of the workers' choice between unity or freeride is first defined using numerical examples of the gain structure. It is defined again in a more generalized form using other parameters. In so doing, we express both the cost of participating in the movement and the gains from the concession of the ruling class. Because this analysis focuses on the importance of the number of participants, the concession of the ruling class is framed as a function of the number of participants. The results of this analysis revealed that the economic foundation and superstructure accurately correspond in some game structures but not in others. In other words, the social dilemma presents either as a case of prisoners' dilemma or as a chicken game. Furthermore, this paper analyzes the influence of group size, and it was revealed that groups with a large number of members, such as a ruling class, find it particularly difficult to unite. This phenomenon is called the "large group dilemma." In these ways, this research shows that the aforementioned type of game theory can be used to analyze the difficulties and possibilities of social movements.
    Keywords: revolution, historical materialism, social dilemma, large group, chicken game
    JEL: B14 C72 D74 P16
    Date: 2018–04–25
  6. By: Anastasia Danilov; Kiryl Khalmetski; Dirk Sliwka
    Abstract: It has been argued that guilt aversion (the aversion to violate others’ expectations) and the compliance to descriptive social norms (the aversion to act differently than others in the same situation) are important drivers of human behavior. We show in a formal model that both motives are empirically indistinguishable when only one benchmark (another person’s expectation or a norm) is revealed as each of these benchmarks signals information on the other one. To address this problem, we experimentally study how individuals react when both benchmarks are revealed simultaneously. We find that both types of information affect transfers in the dictator game. At the same time, the effect of the recipient’s expectation is non-monotonic as dictators use the disclosed expectation in a self-serving way to decrease transfers.
    Keywords: guilt aversion, social norms, conformity, dictator game
    JEL: C91 D83 D84
    Date: 2018

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