nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2019‒06‒17
three papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Institutions, Culture and the Tropical Development Gap By Bernard Poirine; Vincent Dropsy
  2. Ethnic Geography: Measurement and Evidence By Roland Hodler; Michele Valsecchi; Alberto Vesperoni
  3. Present bias: Definition and measurement By Alexis Direr

  1. By: Bernard Poirine (GDI - Gouvernance et développement insulaire - UPF - Université de la Polynésie Française); Vincent Dropsy (GDI - Gouvernance et développement insulaire - UPF - Université de la Polynésie Française)
    Abstract: The development gap between countries in tropical and temperate zones has been attributed to a variety of factors. Using data from the World Values Survey, we find that social norms about thrift, as opposed to sharing, vary with the length of the winter season. We also show that this cultural dimension "thrift versus sharing" and institutional quality both have an independent effect on contemporary economic outcomes. This suggests that the tropical development gap might be the consequence of deep-rooted effects of pre-industrial agro-climatic conditions on both the quality of institutions and social norms about thrift versus sharing that fostered development in the industrial era.
    Keywords: Social norms,Cultural evolution,Time preference,Long-term orientation,Economic development,Comparative development
    Date: 2018–06
  2. By: Roland Hodler (Department of Economics, University of St.Gallen; CEPR, London; CESifo, Munich); Michele Valsecchi (New Economic School); Alberto Vesperoni (Department of Economics, Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt)
    Abstract: The effects of ethnic geography, i.e., the distribution of ethnic groups across space, on economic, political and social outcomes are not well understood. We develop a novel index of ethnic segregation that takes both ethnic and spatial distances between individuals into account. Importantly, we can decompose this index into indices of spatial dispersion, generalized ethnic fractionalization, and the alignment of spatial and ethnic distances. We use ethnographic maps, spatially disaggregated population data, and language trees to compute these four indices for around 160 countries. We apply these indices to study the relation between ethnic geography and current economic, political and social outcomes. We document that country level quality of government, income and trust increase with the alignment component of segregation, i.e., with the ratio between the country's actual segregation and the segregation it would have if ethnic groups were represented in each location with population shares identical to their country-level population share. Hence, all else equal, countries where ethnically diverse individuals live farther apart tend to perform better.
    Keywords: Ethnic diversity; ethnic geography; segregation; fractionalization; quality of government; economic development
    JEL: C43 D63 O10 Z13
    Date: 2019–06
  3. By: Alexis Direr (LEO - Laboratoire d'Économie d'Orleans - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Université de Tours - UO - Université d'Orléans)
    Abstract: A novel definition of present bias is proposed which takes preferences as primitives. A present biased individual over-weights immediate costs and benefits relative to those occurring at any point in the future. The definition allows to sort out previous confounds, such as decreasing impatience, choice reversal or short-term impatience. It intuitively connects to usual utility representations of present bias like the quasi-hyperbolic model of Laibson (1997) or the fixed cost model of Benhabib, Bisin and Schotter (2010). Drawing on the definition, we propose two experimental methods measuring present bias at the individual level which do not require assumptions about utility or discounting, one for daily trade-offs, the other for intra-daily trade-offs. J.E.L. codes: D8, E21
    Keywords: time preferences,decreasing impatience,present bias
    Date: 2019–05–18

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