nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2019‒03‒11
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Decency By Ellingsen, Tore; Mohlin, Erik
  2. Rationality and Capitalist Schooling By Lambert, Thomas
  3. On the evolution of individual preferences and family rules By Alessandro Cigno; Alessandro Gioffré; Annalisa Luporini
  4. On the Psychological Foundations of Economic Development By Odedoyin, Stephen
  5. The Green Golden Rule: habit and anticipation of future consumption By Faria, Joao Ricardo; McAdam, Peter
  6. Behavioral Theory of Repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma: Generous Tit-For-Tat Strategy By Hitoshi Matsushima

  1. By: Ellingsen, Tore (Stockholm School of Economics); Mohlin, Erik (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: We develop a formal theory of decency. Shared values and understandings give rise to social norms. Norms may mandate collectively optimal behavior, but they need not do so. Furthermore, behavior can be affected by social values even if it stops short of norm compliance. Seeking stronger predictions, we propose a structural model of social values; society endorses efficiency and equality, but condemns ill-gotten gains. The model implies that decent people will tend to avoid situations that encourage prosocial behavior. It also rationalizes the existence of willful ignorance, intention-based negative reciprocity, and betrayal aversion
    Keywords: Culture; Norms; Situations; Social Context; Social Preferences
    JEL: D91 Z13
    Date: 2019–02–21
  2. By: Lambert, Thomas
    Abstract: In the field of philosophy of mind, the concepts of rational behavior, rational choice theory, and instrumental rationality (the “practical reasoning” version of rationality) are important in trying to make statements and conclusions about human thinking and behavior in general. Rational choice theory is also considered a normative but not a descriptive or positive theory. Much of economic theory is based on the principle that economic agents usually or always behave rationally in maximizing the benefits and/or minimizing the costs of their decisions. Developments in behavioral economics over the last several decades have begun to question this principle with much of the questioning about rationality and rational behavior centering on whether individuals can correctly and adequately assess probabilities and risk/reward. The inability to correctly assess risk/reward limits rational behavior and can yield sub-optimal outcomes for economic agents. This exploratory paper examines the linkages between schooling in a capitalist society and limits on rationality in a monopoly capital economic system.
    Keywords: behavioral economics, capitalist schooling, monopoly capital, rationality, rational choice
    JEL: B51 I24
    Date: 2019–03–05
  3. By: Alessandro Cigno; Alessandro Gioffré; Annalisa Luporini
    Abstract: We study how the distribution of an inherited trait evolves through marriage if couples are formed at random. If the matching occurs across the entire population, the variance of the trait tends to diminish, and the distribution converges to a common trait. If the matching is restricted to specific subpopulations, each of these converges to a different trait. This has implications for the consequences of immigration. Using a specific model where the trait is a parameter measuring a person's taste for receiving filial attention (a good without perfect market substitutes) in old age, we also show that it may be in a couple's interest to obey a rule requiring them to give specified amounts of the good to their respective parents. The matching is random in this model because preferences are private monitoring. In the long run, if the matching extends to the entire population, either everybody obeys the rule, or nobody does. In the interim, some do, and some do not. If the matching is restricted to specific ethnic or religious groups, the population will tend to break down into a number of sharply characterized subpopulations. That may undermine social cohesion and call for policy intervention.
    Keywords: Marriage, evolution, random matching, family rule, immigration
    JEL: C78 D13 J12
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Odedoyin, Stephen
    Abstract: This paper considered theoretical propositions on the psychological mechanism underlying economic growth and development in diverse nations, particularly how it accounts for variations in levels of per capita income across the globe. Descriptive and analytical techniques were employed in eliciting the basic parameters that underlie this psychological mechanism which motivates inevitably productive economic engagements in various countries of the world.
    Keywords: economicollocation; psychological propensities; national pride; self-interest; Psychological image; national psychological capital; economifugal
    JEL: O1 O12
    Date: 2018–02–11
  5. By: Faria, Joao Ricardo; McAdam, Peter
    Abstract: We derive the Green Golden Rule (GGR) in the Habit Formation (HF) and Anticipation of Future Consumption (AFC) frameworks. Since consumption is the key variable of GGR, time non-separabilities in preferences over consumption streams, given by the AFC and HF, may have important impacts on the environment and sustainability. We demonstrate that agents who smooth their consumption patterns, according to the HF hypothesis, are more likely to preserve the environment than those who anticipate future consumption or who do not so smooth consumption. JEL Classification: D90, Q56
    Keywords: environment, growth, resources, sustainability
    Date: 2019–02
  6. By: Hitoshi Matsushima (University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: This study investigates infinitely repeated games of a prisoner’s dilemma with additive separability in which the monitoring technology is imperfect and private. Behavioral incentives indicate that, in this setting, a player is not only motivated by pure self-interest but also by reciprocity. Players often become naïve and select an action unconsciously. By focusing on generous tit-for-tat strategies, we characterize a Nash equilibrium with behavioral incentives, termed behavioral equilibrium, in an accuracy-contingent manner. By eliminating the gap between theory and evidence, this study argues that reciprocity plays a substantial role in motivating a player to consciously make decisions.
    Date: 2019–02

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