nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2019‒02‒04
five papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The Out of Africa Hypothesis of Comparative Economic Development: Common Misconceptions By Quamrul H. Ashraf; Oded Galor; Marc P. B. Klemp
  2. Why Economics Must be an Evolutionary Science By Vicente Ferreira
  3. Revisiting the efficiency and institutions debate: The interaction of legal origins and ethnic heterogeneity By Bournakis, Ioannis; Christopoulos, Dimitris; Rizov, Marian
  4. Optimization-Based Algorithm for Evolutionarily Stable Strategies against Pure Mutations By Sam Ganzfried
  5. On self-serving strategic beliefs By Nadja R. Ging-Jehli; Florian H. Schneider; Roberto A. Weber

  1. By: Quamrul H. Ashraf; Oded Galor; Marc P. B. Klemp
    Abstract: The importance of the prehistoric migration of anatomically modern humans from Africa for comparative economic development has been the focus of a vibrant research agenda in the past decade. This influential literature has attracted the attention of some scholars from other disciplines, and in light of existing methodological gaps across fields, has perhaps unsurprisingly generated some significant misconceptions. This article examines the critical views expressed by some scholars from other disciplines, and establishes that they are based on fundamental misunderstandings of the statistical methodology, the conceptual framework, and the scope of the analysis that characterize this influential literature.
    Keywords: comparative development, interpersonal population diversity, the out of Africa hypothesis
    JEL: O11 N10 N30 Z10
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Vicente Ferreira
    Abstract: This paper addresses the evolution of evolutionary thought in economics as an alternative to the dominant static view of the economy. A short history of the earlier institutional approach, announced by Thorstein Veblen’s 1898 paper ‘Why is economics not an evolutionary science?’, is presented alongside a discussion of its key methodological and philosophical aspects. Veblen’s critiques of neoclassical economics are also discussed. Then the role of evolutionary concepts in economics throughout the twentieth century is analysed, from later institutionalists to recent complexity and chaos theories. It is argued complexity approaches are developed in line with Veblen’s institutional theory, and may be incorporated in an evolutionary theoretical framework which constitutes a necessary alternative to the neoclassical paradigm, as it better describes and studies real-world socio-economic phenomena.
    Date: 2019–01
  3. By: Bournakis, Ioannis; Christopoulos, Dimitris; Rizov, Marian
    Abstract: We analyse the interaction between legal origins and ethnic heterogeneity and their combined impact on national efficiency. We hypothesise that in the presence of high ethnic heterogeneity common-law system performs worse than civil-law one in terms of economic efficiency. Our empirical tests on the sample of African countries support our hypothesis.
    Keywords: national efficiency,institutions,legal origins,ethnic heterogeneity
    JEL: K40 O10 O43 O47
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Sam Ganzfried
    Abstract: Evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) is an important solution concept in game theory which has been applied frequently to biological models. Informally an ESS is a strategy that if followed by the population cannot be taken over by a mutation strategy that is initially rare. Finding such a strategy has been shown to be difficult from a theoretical complexity perspective. We present an algorithm for the case where mutations are restricted to pure strategies, and present experiments on several game classes including random and a recently-proposed cancer model. Our algorithm is based on a mixed-integer non-convex feasibility program formulation, which constitutes the first general optimization formulation for this problem. It turns out that the vast majority of the games included in the experiments contain ESS with small support, and our algorithm is outperformed by a support-enumeration based approach. However we suspect our algorithm may be useful in the future as games are studied that have ESS with potentially larger and unknown support size.
    Date: 2018–03
  5. By: Nadja R. Ging-Jehli; Florian H. Schneider; Roberto A. Weber
    Abstract: We experimentally study settings where an individual may have an incentive to adopt negative beliefs about another’s intentions in order to justify egoistic behavior. Our first study uses a game in which a player can take money from an opponent in order to prevent the opponent from subsequently causing harm. We hypothesize that players will justify taking by engaging in “strategic cynicism,” convincing themselves of the opponent’s ill intentions. We elicit incentivized beliefs both from players with such an incentive and from neutral third parties with no incentive to bias their beliefs. We find no difference between the two sets of beliefs, suggesting that people do not negatively bias their beliefs about a strategic opponent even when they have an incentive to do so. This result contrasts with Di Tella, et al. (2015), who argue that they provide evidence of strategic cynicism. We reconcile the discrepancy by using Di Tella, et al.’s, data, a simple model of strategic belief manipulation and a novel experiment in which we replicate Di Tella, et al.’s, experiment and also elicit the beliefs of neutral third parties. Across three experimental datasets, the results provide no evidence of negatively biased beliefs about others’ intentions. However, Di Tella, et al.’s, results and our novel data indicate that those with a greater incentive to view others’ intentions negatively exhibit relatively less positive beliefs than those without such incentives.
    Keywords: Motivated beliefs, strategic cynicism, bias, experiment
    JEL: C72 D83 C92
    Date: 2019–01

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