nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2018‒11‒26
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Distributional stability and deterministic equilibrium selection under heterogeneous evolutionary dynamics By Dai Zusai
  2. Child Care and Human Development: Insights from Jewish History in Central and Eastern Europe, 1500-1930 By Botticini, Maristella; Eckstein, Zvi; Vaturi, Anat
  3. Heterogeneity and aggregation in evolutionary dynamics: a general framework without aggregability By Dai Zusai
  4. Gains in evolutionary dynamics: a unifying approach to stability for contractive games and ESS By Dai Zusai

  1. By: Dai Zusai
    Abstract: In the presence of persistent payoff heterogeneity, the evolution of the aggregate strategy hugely depends on the underlying strategy composition under many evolutionary dynamics, while the aggregate dynamic under the standard BRD reduces to a homogenized smooth BRD, where persistent payoff heterogeneity averages to homogeneous transitory payoff shocks. In this paper, we consider deterministic evolutionary dynamics in heterogeneous population and develop the stronger concept of local stability by imposing robustness to persistent payoff heterogeneity. It is known that nonaggregability holds generically if the switching rate in a given evolutionary dynamic correlates with the payoff gain from a switch. To parameterize the payoff sensitivity of an evolutionary dynamic, we propose to use tempered best response dynamics with bounded support of switching costs.
    Date: 2018–05
  2. By: Botticini, Maristella; Eckstein, Zvi; Vaturi, Anat
    Abstract: Economists growingly highlight the fundamental role that human capital formation, institutions, cultural transmission, and religious norms may each distinctively play in shaping health, knowledge, and wealth. We contribute to this debate by studying one of the most remarkable instances in which religious norms and child care practices had a major impact on demographic and economic patterns: the history of the Jews in central and eastern Europe from 1500 to 1930. After documenting that the Jewish population in Poland Lithuania increased at a strikingly high annual rate of 1.37 percent during this period, we investigate the engines of this exceptional growth. We show that while Jewish and non-Jewish birth rates were about the same, infant and child mortality among Jews was much lower and account for the main difference (70 percent) in Jewish versus non-Jewish natural population growth. Our contribution stems from documenting that Jewish families routinely adopted childcare practices that recent medical research has shown as enhancing infants' and children's well-being. These practices, deeply rooted in Talmudic rulings, account for the lower infant and child mortality among Jews, and in turn, for the higher Jewish population growth rate in eastern and central Europe between 1500 and 1930. The key insight of our work is that once Judaism became a "literate religion," infant and child care, as well as enhancing offspring's' cognitive skills, became focal activities of Jewish households.
    Keywords: Child Care; Eastern Europe; infant mortality; Jewish history; population growth; religious norms
    JEL: J11 J13 N33
    Date: 2018–09
  3. By: Dai Zusai
    Abstract: We consider general evolutionary dynamics under persistent payoff heterogeneity and study the dynamic relation between the strategy composition over different types and the aggregate strategy distribution of the entire population. It is rigorously proven that continuity of either the revision protocol or the type distribution guarantees the existence of a unique solution trajectory. In many major evolutionary dynamics, an agent's switching rate between actions increases with the payoff gain from this switch, which causes nonaggregability: the current strategy composition must be identified to predict the transition of the aggregate strategy. Looking at the strategy composition, we retain equilibrium stationarity in general and stability in potential games under admissible dynamics. Local stability of an equilibrium composition under any admissible dynamic can be tested by local stability of the corresponding aggregate equilibrium under the best response dynamic with i.i.d.~payoff perturbation. All the results are maintained under heterogeneity in revision protocols.
    Date: 2018–05
  4. By: Dai Zusai
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate gains from strategy revisions in deterministic evolutionary dynamics. To clarify the gain from revision, we propose a framework to reconstruct an evolutionary dynamic from optimal decision with stochastic (possibly restricted) available action set and switching cost. Many of major dynamics can be constructed in this framework. We formally define net gains from revisions and obtain several general properties of the gain function, which leads to Nash stability of contractive games---generalization of concave potential games---and local asymptotic stability of a (regular) evolutionary stable state. The unifying framework allows us to apply the Nash stability to mixture of heterogeneous populations, whether heterogeneity is observable or unobservable or whether heterogeneity is in payoffs or in revision protocols. This extends the known positive results on evolutionary implementation of social optimum through Pigouvian pricing to the presence of heterogeneity and non-aggregate payoff perturbations. While the analysis here is confined to general strategic-form games, we finally discuss that the idea of reconstructing evolutionary dynamics from optimization with switching costs and focusing on net revision gains for stability is promising for further applications to more complex situations.
    Date: 2018–05

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