nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2019‒05‒13
seven papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Political Geography and Pre-Industrial Development: A Theory and Evidence for Europe 1000-1850 By Cervellati, Matteo; Lazzaroni, Sara; Prarolo, Giovanni; Vanin, Paolo
  2. Rational Choices: An Ecological Approach By Abhinash Bora; Christopher Kops
  3. Are Millennials Really So Selfish? Preliminary Evidence from the Philanthropy Panel Study By Peter Koczanski; Harvey S. Rosen
  4. Economic Performance Through Time: A Dynamical Theory By Daniel Seligson; Anne McCants
  5. The past and future of the social sciences. A Schumpeterian theory of scientific development? By Stefano Lucarelli; Alfonso Giuliani; Hervé Baron
  6. Strategically delusional By Alice Solda; Changxia Ke; Lionel Page; William von Hippel
  7. A Broomean model of rationality and reasoning By Franz Dietrich; Antonios Staras; Robert Sugden

  1. By: Cervellati, Matteo; Lazzaroni, Sara; Prarolo, Giovanni; Vanin, Paolo
    Abstract: We present a theory of the drivers, and a measurement of the patterns, of the evolution of historical sovereign polities over time and space in Europe, and we study their impact on pre-industrial urban development. We model changing state capacity and rule of law over space as resulting from strategic interactions between ruling elites. We characterize the endogenous evolution of equilibrium number, size, borders and type of polities. The framework characterizes the timing and location of appearance (and disappearance) of city states and the transition from domain reigns to modern territorial states. The model predicts the emergence of hard borders and a reversal in the role of locations' centrality for development. We measure the territorial evolution of sovereign polities by assembling geo-referenced yearly panel data on the political geography of each location in Europe for the period 1000-1850 and we investigate its implications for pre-industrial urban growth. Results document a changing role of polity size and type and a reversal of centrality from across to within polities which is associated to increasing importance of domestic market potential after the XVII century.
    Keywords: Borders; Centrality and Location; market potential; Pre-Industrial Development; Sovereign Polities; Space and Territorial Control
    Date: 2019–05
  2. By: Abhinash Bora (Department of Economics, Ashoka University); Christopher Kops (Department of Economics, Ashoka University)
    Abstract: We address the oft-repeated criticism that the demands which the rational choice approach makes on the knowledge and cognition of a decision maker (DM) are way beyond the capabilities of typical human intelligence. Our key finding is that it may be possible to arrive at this ideal of rationality by means of cognitively less demanding, heuristic-based ecological reasoning that draws on information about others' choices in the DM's environment. Formally, we propose a choice procedure under which, in any choice problem, the DM, first, uses this information to shortlist a set of alternatives. The DM does this shortlisting by a mental process of categorization whereby she draws similarities with certain societal members-the ingroup—and distinctions from others-the outgroup-and considers those alternatives that are similar (dissimilar) to ingroup (outgroup) members' choices. Then, she chooses from this shortlisted set by applying her preferences, which may be incomplete owing to limitations of knowledge. We show that if a certain homophily condition connecting the DM's preferences with her ingroup-outgroup categorization holds, then the procedure never leads the DM to making bad choices. If, in addition, a certain shortlisting consistency condition holds vis-a-vis non-comparable alternatives under the DM's preferences, then the procedure results in rational choices.
    Keywords: Rational choice, ecological rationality, ingroup-outgroup categorization, fast and frugal heuristics, homophily
    Date: 2019–01
  3. By: Peter Koczanski; Harvey S. Rosen
    Abstract: We use panel data on charitable donations to analyze how the philanthropic behavior of the Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) compares to that of earlier generations. On the basis of a multivariate analysis with a rich set of economic and demographic variables, we find that conditional on making a gift, one cannot reject the hypothesis that the Millennials donate more than members of earlier generations. However, Millennials are somewhat less likely to make any donations at all than their generational predecessors. Our findings suggest a more nuanced view of the Millennials’ prosocial behavior than is suggested in popular accounts.
    JEL: D64
    Date: 2019–05
  4. By: Daniel Seligson; Anne McCants
    Abstract: The central problems of Development Economics are the explanation of the gross disparities in the global distribution, $\cal{D}$, of economic performance, $\cal{E}$, and the persistence, $\cal{P}$, of said distribution. Douglass North argued, epigrammatically, that institutions, $\cal{I}$, are the rules of the game, meaning that $\cal{I}$ determines or at least constrains $\cal{E}$. This promised to explain $\cal{D}$. 65,000 citations later, the central problems remain unsolved. North's institutions are informal, slowly changing cultural norms as well as roads, guilds, and formal legislation that may change overnight. This definition, mixing the static and the dynamic, is unsuited for use in a necessarily time dependent theory of developing economies. We offer here a suitably precise definition of $\cal{I}$, a dynamical theory of economic development, a new measure of the economy, an explanation of $\cal{P}$, a bivariate model that explains half of $\cal{D}$, and a critical reconsideration of North's epigram.
    Date: 2019–05
  5. By: Stefano Lucarelli (UniBG - Università degli studi di Bergamo); Alfonso Giuliani (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Hervé Baron (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: The paper argues that Vergangenheit und Zukunft der Sozialwissenschaften (The Past and Future of the Social Sciences), a contribution not always well understood in the literature, is important to an understanding of Schumpeter's concept of development as applied to the field of the social sciences. To this end, it addresses three key questions. First, can the book be taken as a starting point to reconstruct a Schumpeterian theory of scientific development? Second, is Vergangenheit und Zukunft merely ‘a brief outline of what first became the Epochen [der Dogmen- und Methodengeschichte] and finally the History of Economic Analysis', as Elizabeth Boody Schumpeter wrote in her Editor's Introduction (July 1952) to the latter work (p. XXXII), or should it be read as a complement to Epochen and perhaps the History? Third, is the eminent Japanese scholar Shionoya right to claim that Schumpeter's work pursued the ambitious goal of developing a ‘comprehensive sociology'?
    Keywords: method,scientific development,Schumpeter,social sciences
    Date: 2019–03–10
  6. By: Alice Solda (Queensland University of Technology; University of Lyon); Changxia Ke (Queensland University of Technology); Lionel Page (Queensland University of Technology; University of Technology Sydney); William von Hippel (University of Queensland)
    Abstract: We aim to test the hypothesis that overconfidence arises as a strategy to influence others in social interactions. We design an experiment in which participants are incentivised either to form accurate beliefs about their performance at a test, or to convince a group of other participants that they performed well. We also vary participants’ ability to gather information about their performance. Our results provide, the different empirical links of von Hippel and Trivers’ (2011) theory of strategic overconfidence.
    Keywords: Overconfidence; motivated cognition; self-deception; persuasion; information sampling; experiment
    JEL: C91 D03 D83
    Date: 2019–03–01
  7. By: Franz Dietrich (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics); Antonios Staras (UEA - University of East Anglia [Norwich]); Robert Sugden (UEA - University of East Anglia [Norwich])
    Abstract: John Broome has developed an account of rationality and reasoning which gives philosophical foundations for choice theory and the psychology of rational agents. We formalize his account into a model that differs from ordinary choice-theoretic models through focusing on psychology and the reasoning process. Within that model, we ask Broome's central question of whether reasoning can make us more rational: whether it allows us to acquire transitive preferences, consistent beliefs, non-akratic intentions, and so on. We identify three structural types of rationality requirements: consistency requirements, completeness requirements, and closedness requirements. Many standard rationality requirements fall under this typology. Based on three theorems, we argue that reasoning is successful in achieving closedness requirements, but not in achieving consistency or completeness requirements. We assess how far our negative results reveal gaps in Broone's theory, or deficiencies in choice theory and behavioural economics.
    Abstract: John Broome a développé une théorie de la rationalité et du raisonnement qui donne des fondements philosophiques au choix rationnel et à la psychologie d'acteurs rationnels. Nous formalisons cette théorie en définissant un cadre qui diffère de modèles classiques du choix rationnel, en mettant au centre la psychologie et le raisonnement. A travers notre modèle, nous reposons la question centrale de Broome si le raisonnement nous permet d'augmenter notre rationalité : si le raisonnement nous fait acquérir des préférences transitives, des croyances cohérentes, des intentions conformes à nos buts (" non akratiques ") etc. Nous identifions trois types de conditions de rationalité : des conditions de cohérence, des conditions de complétude et des conditions de clôture. Un grand nombre de conditions de rationalité classiques tombent sous cette taxonomie. En nous appuyant sur trois théorèmes, nous montrons que le raisonnement est utile pour arriver à satisfaire des conditions de clôture, mais pas des conditions de cohérence ou de complétude. Nous évaluons enfin dans quelle mesure nos résultats négatifs révèlent des problèmes dans la théorie Broomeienne ou posent des problèmes à la théorie du choix rationnel et l'économie comportementale.
    Keywords: rationality,reasoning,beliefs,consistency,completeness,deductive closure,rationalité,raisonnement,intentions,croyances,préférences,cohérence,complétude,clôture déductive
    Date: 2018–07

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