nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2019‒01‒21
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Geographical Roots of the Coevolution of Cultural and Linguistic Traits By Galor, Oded; Özak, Ömer; Sarid, Assaf
  2. Evolutionary stability of behavioural rules in bargaining By Khan, Abhimanyu
  3. Cooperation among strangers with and without a monetary system By Maria Bigoni; Gabriele Camera; Marco Casari
  4. Learning and Selfconfirming Equilibria in Network Games By Pierpaolo Battigalli; Fabrizio Panebianco; Paolo Pin
  5. Dead men tell no tales: how the Homo sapiens became Homo economicus By Zakharenko, Roman
  6. A New Analysis of Population History in Sabah and Sarawak By Hashom Mohd Hakim

  1. By: Galor, Oded (Brown University); Özak, Ömer (Southern Methodist University); Sarid, Assaf (University of Haifa)
    Abstract: This research explores the geographical origins of the coevolution of cultural and linguistic traits in the course of human history, relating the geographical roots of long-term orientation to the structure of the future tense, the agricultural determinants of gender bias to the presence of sex-based grammatical gender, and the ecological origins of hierarchical orientation to the existence of politeness distinctions. The study advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that: (i) geographical characteristics that were conducive to higher natural return to agricultural investment contributed to the existing cross-language variations in the structure of the future tense, (ii) the agricultural determinants of gender gap in agricultural productivity fostered the existence of sex-based grammatical gender, and (iii) the ecological origins of hierarchical societies triggered the emergence of politeness distinctions.
    Keywords: comparative development, cultural evolution, language structures, future tense, politeness distinctions, long-term orientation, grammatical gender, gender bias, hierarchy, emergence of states
    JEL: O10 Z10 Z13
    Date: 2018–11
  2. By: Khan, Abhimanyu
    Abstract: I study the evolutionary stability of behavioural rules in a bargaining game. Individuals draw random samples of strategies used in the past and respond to it by using a behavioural rule. Even though individuals actually respond to historical demands, a necessary condition for stability is the existence of a state such that it is as-if the individuals are hardwired to make the same demand. Furthermore, the state where all individuals demand half of the pie is the unique neutrally stable state; all other states are unstable in the face of an invasion by a mutant behavioural rule.
    Keywords: bargaining; evolution; stable behavioural rules; internal stability; external stability; equal split
    JEL: C73 C78
    Date: 2018–12–24
  3. By: Maria Bigoni (University of Bologna & IZA); Gabriele Camera (Chapman University & University of Bologna); Marco Casari (University of Bologna & IZA)
    Abstract: Human societies prosper when their members move beyond local exchange and cooperate with outsiders in the creation of wealth. Collaboration of this type presents formidable challenges because interaction is impersonal, reciprocity is unfeasible and trust cannot be easily established. Here we study this cooperation problem by modeling strategic interaction among strangers through an Intertemporal Exchange Game. The setup can be easily implemented in the laboratory to study a variety of cooperation-enhancing institutions. In particular, we study the role of a fiat monetary system by introducing intrinsically worthless tokens that can be offered in exchange for cooperation. The experiments show that a monetary system spontaneously emerges in the laboratory, and is a key institution to promote cooperation among strangers.
    Keywords: gift-giving, intertemporal trade, macroeconomic experiments, repeated games, social norms
    JEL: C70 C90 D03 E02
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Pierpaolo Battigalli; Fabrizio Panebianco; Paolo Pin
    Abstract: Consider a set of agents who play a network game repeatedly. Agents may not know the network. They may even be unaware that they are interacting with other agents in a network. Possibly, they just understand that their payoffs depend on an unknown state that in reality is an aggregate of the actions of their neighbors. Each time, every agent chooses an action that maximizes her subjective expected payoff and then updates her beliefs according to what she observes. In particular, we assume that each agent only observes her realized payoff. A steady state of such dynamic is a selfconfirming equilibrium given the assumed feedback. We characterize the structure of the set of selfconfirming equilibria in network games and we relate selfconfirming and Nash equilibria. Thus, we provide conditions on the network under which the Nash equilibrium concept has a learning foundation, despite the fact that agents may have incomplete information. In particular, we show that the choice of being active or inactive in a network is crucial to determine whether agents can make correct inferences about the payoff state and hence play the best reply to the truth in a selfconfirming equilibrium. We also study learning dynamics and show how agents can get stuck in non{Nash selfconfirming equilibria. In such dynamics, the set of inactive agents can only increase in time, because once an agent finds it optimal to be inactive, she gets no feedback about the payoff state, hence she does not change her beliefs and remains inactive. JEL classification codes: C72, D83, D85.
    Date: 2018
  5. By: Zakharenko, Roman
    Abstract: The paper explains long-term changes in birth, death rates and attitude to personal consumption by changing patterns of cultural transmission. When communities are culturally isolated, they are focused on population growth, resulting in large fertility and welfare transfers to children, limited adult consumption and lack of old-age support. With increasing cultural contact across communities, successful cultural traits induce their hosts to attempt becoming celebrities by limiting fertility and increasing longevity via higher consumption and old-age arrangements. Empirical analysis confirms that celebrities have fewer children and live longer; their presence precedes reduced aggregate birth and death rates.
    Keywords: cultural transmission, celebrity, demographic transition
    JEL: J11 J13 J14 Z19
    Date: 2018–12–19
  6. By: Hashom Mohd Hakim (Universiti Sains Malaysia and Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysia. Author-2-Name: Japareng Lalung Author-2-Workplace-Name: School of Industrial Technologies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Pinang Author-3-Name: Suresh Narayanen Author-3-Workplace-Name: Centre for Global Archaeological Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Pinang Author-4-Name: Nasha Rodziadi Khaw Author-4-Workplace-Name: Centre for Global Archaeological Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Pinang Author-5-Name: Author-5-Workplace-Name: Author-6-Name: Geoffrey Keith Chambers Author-6-Workplace-Name: School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand Author-7-Name: Hisham Atan Edinur Author-7-Workplace-Name: School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan. Author-8-Name: Author-8-Workplace-Name:)
    Abstract: Objective - This study is a comprehensive account of contemporary knowledge concerning pre-historic communities in Sabah and Sarawak based on newly available evidence from genomic and archaeological research. Methodology/Technique - The data presented in this review was obtained from primary literature including recent reports on several Neolithic excavation sites including Gua Sireh, Bukit Tengkorak, Melanta Tutup, and Bukit Kamiri. Findings - Pre-neolithic populations existed in Borneo long before the arrival of Austronesians as is evident from Niah Cave remains. These considerably pre-date the arrival of the latter new immigrants around 3,500 years ago. Further genetic research is needed, as the current view of the history of the population is based on a limited number of ethnic groups among those currently living in Borneo and to date, no trace has been found of any surviving genetic lineages from the earliest settlers. Novelty - This review paints a contemporary picture from existing information. In particular, it highlights the need for further research on the topic, as the current view of the genetic history of the population in Sabah and Sarawak is only available on a limited number of ethnic groups currently living in Borneo. Developing a conclusive and composite view on this topic will require widespread genetic surveys of many more ethnic groups scattered throughout the Sabah and Sarawak areas. This will require large-scale next-generation techniques (such as genome-wide SNP surveys and whole genome sequencing etc.). These methods should be enhanced by examination of ancient materials including human remains and their associated artefacts. These initiatives will require a number of well-planned excavations of recent settlements (last 10,000 years) and the application of trace and ancient DNA methodology.
    Keywords: Population Genetics; Archaeology; Borneo; Sabah and Sarawak; Malaysia; Population History.
    JEL: N90 Z10
    Date: 2018–12–03

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