nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2018‒10‒29
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Diversity and Conflict By Cemal Eren Arbatli; Quamrul H. Ashraf; Oded Galor; Marc Klemp
  2. The Many Faces of Human Sociality: Uncovering the Distribution and Stability of Social Preferences By Adrian Bruhin; Ernst Fehr; Daniel Schunk
  3. Culture cumulative, apprentissage social et réseaux sociaux By Claude Meidinger
  4. Leader Identity and Coordination By Bhalotra, Sonia R.; Clots-Figueras, Irma; Iyer, Lakshmi; Vecci, Joseph

  1. By: Cemal Eren Arbatli (Faculty of Economic Sciences, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow); Quamrul H. Ashraf (Department of Economics, Williams College, Williamstown); Oded Galor (Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence); Marc Klemp (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: This research advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that interpersonal population diversity has contributed significantly to the emergence, prevalence, recurrence, and severity of intrasocietal confl icts. Exploiting an exogenous source of variations in population diversity across nations and ethnic groups, it demonstrates that population diversity, as determined predominantly during the exodus of humans from Africa tens of thousands of years ago, has contributed significantly to the risk and intensity of historical and contemporary internal confl icts, accounting for the confounding effects of geographical, institutional, and cultural characteristics, as well as for the level of economic development. These findings arguably reflect the adverse effect of population diversity on interpersonal trust, its contribution to divergence in preferences for public goods and redistributive policies, and its impact on the degree of fractionalization and polarization across ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups.
    Keywords: Social conflict, population diversity, ethnic fractionalization, ethnic polarization, interpersonal trust, political preferences
    JEL: D74 N30 N40 O11 O43 Z13
    Date: 2018–03–01
  2. By: Adrian Bruhin (University of Lausanne); Ernst Fehr (Universität Zürich); Daniel Schunk (Johanes Gutenberg - Universität Mainz)
    Abstract: We uncover heterogeneity in social preferences with a structural model that accounts for outcome-based and reciprocity-based social preferences and assigns individuals to endogenously determined preferences types. We find that neither at the aggregate level nor when we allow for several distinct preference types do purely selfish types emerge, suggesting that other-regarding preferences are the rule and not the exemption. There are three temporally stable other-regarding types. When ahead, all types value others' payoffs more than when behind. The first, strongly altruistic type puts a large weight on others' payoffs even when behind and displays moderate levels of reciprocity. The second, moderately altruistic type also puts positive weight on others’ payoff, yet at a lower level, and displays no positive reciprocity. The third, behindness averse type puts a large negative weight on others’ payoffs when behind and is selfish otherwise. In addition, we show that individual-specific estimates of preferences offer only very modest improvements in out-of-sample predictions compared to our three-type model. Thus, a parsimonious model with three types captures the bulk of the information about subjects' social preferences.
    Keywords: social preferences, heterogeneity, Stability, finite mixture models
    JEL: C49 C91 D03
    Date: 2018–10
  3. By: Claude Meidinger (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Discussions about the existence of a culture in non-human species is often concerned by the question whether these species could possess a cognitive complexity sufficient to allow them to imitate others. According to many authors, to imitate is a cognitively sohisticated process that depends on a functionally abstract representation of a problem and its solution, something that non human species do not seem to possess. However, the fast evolution of cognitive performances and of complex inventions in human beings could not be explained only by the improvement of the rate of innovation in individual learning and (or) the improvement of the process of imitation. Such a cumulative evolution depends also on a wider social organization characterized by an increase in the size of the social networks. The simulations displayed here show how such an increase, jointly considered with the diversity of learning processes, allow to better understand the major transitions noted in the cultural evolution of primates and human beings.
    Abstract: Les discussions concernant l'existence d'une culture chez les espèces non humaines ont eu tendance à se focaliser sur la question de savoir si, en dehors de l'espèce humaine, les espèces animales disposent d'une complexité cognitive suffisante pour imiter autrui. Imiter, chez beaucoup d'auteurs, est réservé à un processus cognitivement sophistiqué, dépendant d'une représentation fonctionnelle abstraite d'un problème et de sa solution, ce dont les espèces animales non humaines ne semblent pas disposer. Cependant, l'évolution rapide de performances cognitives et d'inventions complexes chez les êtres humains caractérisant une évolution culturelle cumulative ne saurait s'expliquer uniquement par une amélioration du taux d'innovation de l'apprentissage individual et (ou) de l'efficacité d'un processus d'imitation. Une telle évolution cumulative dépend également d'une organisation sociale plus étendue au sein de groupes d'individus se traduisant par une augmentation de la taille des réseaux sociaux. Les simulations présentées ici illustrent en quoi la prise en compte de la taille des réseaux sociaux jointe à celle de la diversité des modes d'apprentissage permettent de mieux comprendre les transitions majeures susceptibles de s'être produites lors de l'évolution culturelle des primates et des humains.
    Keywords: learning processes,cumulative cultural evolution,social networks,simulations,processus d'apprentissage,évolution culturelle cumulative,réseaux sociaux
    Date: 2018–09
  4. By: Bhalotra, Sonia R. (University of Essex); Clots-Figueras, Irma (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid); Iyer, Lakshmi (University of Notre Dame); Vecci, Joseph (University of Gothenburg)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effectiveness of leaders in addressing coordination failure in societies with ethnic or religious diversity. We experimentally vary leader identity in a coordination game and implement it in the field across 44 towns in India. We find that religious minority leaders (Muslims) improve coordination, while majority leaders (Hindus) do not. We test the effectiveness of intergroup contact and affirmative action, two commonly used policies to improve the well-being of minorities. Intergroup contact improves coordination irrespective of leader identity, but affirmative action leads to deterioration in coordination in Muslim-led groups alongside an increase in coordination in Hindu-led groups. We find that both policies are less effective for Muslim-led groups in towns with a recent history of religious conflict. Our findings contribute novel evidence to research on coordination failure, leader identity, policy alternatives for promoting integration of minorities, and conflict.
    Keywords: coordination failure, leader identity, leader effectiveness, religion, affirmative action, intergroup contact, conflict, India
    JEL: P16 D70 D91 J78
    Date: 2018–09

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