nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2018‒07‒09
eight papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Unreal Wages? A New Empirical Foundation for the Study of Living Standards and Economic Growth in England, 1260-1860 By Jane Humphries; Jacob Weisdorf
  2. China, Europe and the Great Divergence: A Study in Historical National Accounting, 980-1850 By Stephen Broadberry; Hanhui Guan; David Daokui Li
  3. Quicksand or Bedrock for Behavioral Economics? Assessing Foundational Empirical Questions By Victor Stango; Joanne Yoong; Jonathan Zinman
  4. Japan and the Great Divergence, 730-1874 By Stephen Broadberry; Jean-Pascal Bassino; Kyoji Fukao; Bishnupriya Gupta; Masanori Takashima
  5. Instrumental Variables in the Long Run By Casey, Gregory; Klemp, Marc
  6. Cooperation stability: A representative sample in the lab By Toke R. Fosgaard
  7. The role of conflict in sex discrimination: The case of missing girls By Mavisakalyan, Astghik; Minasyan, Anna
  8. Heights Across the Last 2000 Years in England By Gregori Galofré-VilÃ; Andrew Hinde; Aravinda Guntupalli

  1. By: Jane Humphries; Jacob Weisdorf
    Abstract: Abstract: Existing measures of historical real wages suffer from the fundamental problem that workers’ annual incomes are estimated on the basis of day wages without knowing the length of the working year. We circumvent this problem by presenting a novel wage series of male workers employed on annual contracts. We use evidence of labour market arbitrage to argue that existing real wage estimates are badly off target, because they overestimate the medieval working year but underestimate the industrial one. Our data suggests that modern economic growth began two centuries earlier than hitherto thought and was driven by an ‘Industrious Revolution’.
    Keywords: England, industrial revolution, industrious revolution, labour input, living standards, wages, Malthusian model.
    JEL: J3 J4 J5 J6 J7 J8 N33
    Date: 2016–09–20
  2. By: Stephen Broadberry; Hanhui Guan; David Daokui Li
    Abstract: Abstract Chinese GDP per capita fluctuated at a high level during the Northern Song and Ming dynasties before trending downwards during the Qing dynasty. China led the world in living standards during the Northern Song dynasty, but had fallen behind Italy by 1300. At this stage, it is possible that parts of China were still on a par with the richest parts of Europe, but by 1750 the gap was too large to be bridged by regional variation within China and the Great Divergence had already begun before the Industrial Revolution.
    Keywords: GDP Per Capita; Economic Growth; Great Divergence; China; Europe
    JEL: E10 N35 O10
    Date: 2017–04–24
  3. By: Victor Stango (University of California-Davis); Joanne Yoong (University of Southern California, National University of Singapore, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine); Jonathan Zinman (Dartmouth College and NBER)
    Abstract: Behavioral economics lacks empirical evidence on some foundational questions. We adapt standard elicitation methods to measure multiple behavioral factors per person in a representative U.S. sample, along with financial condition, cognitive skills, financial literacy, classical preferences, and demographics. Individually, behavioral factors are prevalent, distinct from other decision inputs, and correlate negatively with financial outcomes in richly-conditioned regressions. Conditioning further on other B-factors does not change the results, validating common practice of modeling B-factors separately. Corrections for low task/survey effort modestly strengthen the results. Our findings provide bedrock empirical foundations for behavioral economics, and offer methodological guidance for research designs.
    Date: 2018–04
  4. By: Stephen Broadberry; Jean-Pascal Bassino; Kyoji Fukao; Bishnupriya Gupta; Masanori Takashima
    Abstract: Abstract Japanese GDP per capita grew at an annual rate of 0.08 per cent between 730 and 1874, but the growth was episodic, with the increase in per capita income concentrated in twoperiods, 1450-1600 and after 1721, interspersed with periods of stable per capita income. There is a similarity here with the growth pattern of Britain. The first countries to achieve modern economic growth at opposite ends of Eurasia thus shared the experience of an early end to growth reversals. However, Japan started at a lower level than Britain and grew more slowly until the Meiji Restoration.
    Keywords: Japan, Great Divergence, GDP per capita, growth reversals, Britain
    JEL: N10 N30 N35 O10 O57
    Date: 2017–04–24
  5. By: Casey, Gregory; Klemp, Marc
    Abstract: We study the interpretation of instrumental variable (IV) regressions that use historical or geographical instruments for contemporary endogenous regressors. We find that conventional IV regressions generally cannot estimate the long-run causal effect of an endogenous explanatory variable when there is a time gap between the instrument and the endogenous variable. We develop a model that can overcome this problem and apply our results to important topics in the field of economic growth, including the effect of institutions on economic growth. We find effects that are smaller than those estimated in the existing literature, demonstrating the quantitative importance of our study.
    Keywords: Instrumental Variable Regression; Long-Run Economic Growth
    JEL: C10 C30 O10 O40
    Date: 2018–06
  6. By: Toke R. Fosgaard (Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: The ability to cooperate is a central condition for human prosperity, yet a trend of declining cooperation is one of the most robust observations in behavioral economics. The massive replication of declining cooperation has almost exclusively been carried out in student populations, which opens up for the question of whether the declining cooperation is predictive for the population at large. I make two steps to address this knowledge gap about cooperation stability in the general population. First, I measure repeated cooperation among students and a representative sample. Among the students, I confirm the usual decay effect of cooperation. However, among the non-students, the behavior is hugely different and approaches no decay. Secondly, I stress test the cooperation stability among non-students by manipulating the composition of preferences so that fast decay and no decay are predicted. I observe that the cooperation stability is remarkably unaffected by this manipulation.
    Keywords: Cooperation, decay, preference composition, non-students, students
    JEL: H41 C92
    Date: 2018–06
  7. By: Mavisakalyan, Astghik; Minasyan, Anna
    Abstract: Recent evidence shows that highly skewed sex ratios at birth are observed not only in China and India, but also for a number of countries in the Southeast Europe and South Caucasus - a region that has seen eruptions of conflicts following the collapse of communist regimes. Yet, the role of conflict has been largely overlooked in the relevant literature on ”missing girls”. We argue that conflict and group survival concerns can exacerbate the initial son bias and lead to relatively more male births once low fertility levels and access to ultrasound technology are given. We test our hypotheses in the context of Nagorno Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. First, individual-level survey analysis from Armenia shows that relatively stronger concern over national security and territorial integrity is significantly associated with son preference. Second, difference-in-difference panel analysis of community-level census data shows that once ceasefire breaches between Armenia and Azerbaijan intensified, Armenian communities closer to the conflict region exhibited relatively higher sex ratios at birth.
    Keywords: discrimination,sex ratios,conflict
    JEL: D74 J13 J16 O15
    Date: 2018
  8. By: Gregori Galofré-VilÃ; Andrew Hinde; Aravinda Guntupalli
    Abstract: Abstract This paper uses a dataset of heights calculated from the femurs of skeletal remains to explore the development of stature in England across the last two millennia. We find that heights increased during the Roman period and then steadily fell during the ‘Dark Ages’ in the early medieval period. At the turn of the first millennium heights grew rapidly, but after 1200 they started to decline coinciding with the agricultural depression, the Great Famine and the Black Death. Then they recovered to reach a plateau which they maintained for almost 300 years, before falling on the eve of industrialisation. The data show that average heights in England in the early nineteenth century were shorter than those in Roman times, and that average heights reported between 1400 and 1700 were similar to those of the twentieth century. The paper also discusses the ssociation of heights across time with some potential determinants and correlates (real wages, inequality, food supply, climate change and expectation of life), showing that in the long run heights change with these variables, and that in certain periods, notably the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the associations are observable over the shorter run as well. We also examine potential biases surrounding the use of skeletal remains.
    Keywords: Health, Height, England, Skeletal remains
    Date: 2017–01–24

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