nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2019‒01‒28
two papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Folklore By Stelios Michalopoulos; Melanie Meng Xue
  2. Choosing Who You Are: The Structure and Behavioral Effects of Revealed Identiffication Preferences By Florian Hett; Markus Kröll; Mario Mechtel

  1. By: Stelios Michalopoulos; Melanie Meng Xue
    Abstract: Folklore is the collection of traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community, passed through the generations by word of mouth. This vast expressive body, studied by the corresponding discipline of folklore, has evaded the attention of economists. In this study we do four things that reveal the tremendous potential of this corpus for understanding comparative development and culture. First, we introduce and describe a unique catalogue of folklore that codes the presence of thousands of motifs for roughly 1,000 pre-industrial societies. Second, we use a dictionary-based approach to elicit group-specific measures of various traits related to the natural environment, institutional framework, and mode of subsistence. We establish that these proxies are in accordance with the ethnographic record, and illustrate how to use a group’s oral tradition to quantify non-extant characteristics of preindustrial societies. Third, we use folklore to uncover the historical cultural values of a group. Doing so allows us to test various influential conjectures among social scientists including the original affluent society, the culture of honor among pastoralists, the role of family in extended kinship systems and the intensity of trade and rule-following norms in politically centralized group. Finally, we explore how cultural norms inferred via text analysis of oral traditions predict contemporary attitudes and beliefs.
    JEL: N00 Z1 Z13
    Date: 2019–01
  2. By: Florian Hett (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz); Markus Kröll (Goethe University Frankfurt); Mario Mechtel (Leuphana University Lüneburg)
    Abstract: Social identity is an important driver of behavior. But where do differences in social identity come from? We use a novel laboratory experiment to measure individual identification preferences as a potential source of behavioral heterogeneity. Facing a trade-off between monetary payments and belonging to different groups, individuals are willing to forego significant earnings to avoid certain groups and thereby reveal their identification preferences. We then show that these identification preferences are systematically related to behavioral heterogeneity in groupspecific social preferences. These results illustrate the importance of identification as a choice and its relevance for explaining individual behavior.
    Keywords: Social Identity, Identification Preferences, Social Preferences, Outgroup Discrimination, Behavioral Heterogeneity
    JEL: C91 C92 D03 D91
    Date: 2019–01–10

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