nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2019‒09‒09
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The economics of minority language use: theory and empirical evidence for a language game model By Stefan Sperlich; Jose-Ramon Uriarte
  2. Compliance with socially responsible norms of behavior: reputation vs. conformity By Virginia Cecchini Manara; Lorenzo Sacconi
  3. Interventions with Sticky Social Norms: A Critique By Rohan Dutta; David K Levine; Salvatore Modica
  4. Preferences for efficiency, rather than preferences for morality, drive cooperation in the one-shot Stag-Hunt Game By Valerio Capararo; Ismael Rodriguez-Lara; Maria J. Ruiz Martos
  5. Taking shortcuts: Cognitive conflict during motivated rule-breaking By Pfister, Roland; Wirth, Robert; Weller, Lisa; Foerster, Anna; Schwarz, Katharina
  6. Pandemics, Places, and Populations: Evidence from the Black Death By Remi Jedwab; Noel D. Johnson; Mark Koyama

  1. By: Stefan Sperlich; Jose-Ramon Uriarte
    Abstract: Language and cultural diversity is a fundamental aspect of the present world. We study three modern multilingual societies -- the Basque Country, Ireland and Wales -- which are endowed with two, linguistically distant, official languages: $A$, spoken by all individuals, and $B$, spoken by a bilingual minority. In the three cases it is observed a decay in the use of minoritarian $B$, a sign of diversity loss. However, for the "Council of Europe" the key factor to avoid the shift of $B$ is its use in all domains. Thus, we investigate the language choices of the bilinguals by means of an evolutionary game theoretic model. We show that the language population dynamics has reached an evolutionary stable equilibrium where a fraction of bilinguals have shifted to speak $A$. Thus, this equilibrium captures the decline in the use of $B$. To test the theory we build empirical models that predict the use of $B$ for each proportion of bilinguals. We show that model-based predictions fit very well the observed use of Basque, Irish, and Welsh.
    Date: 2019–08
  2. By: Virginia Cecchini Manara (University of Trento); Lorenzo Sacconi (University of Milan)
    Abstract: The Social Responsibility of Business usually involves self-regulation, which entails spontaneous compliance with social norms or standards that are not imposed by hard law. In this paper we discuss the mechanisms that lead economic agents to comply with socially responsible norms that are not legally enforced, and do not coincide with profit, or self-interest, maximization. Companies exist because individuals need to cooperate and some institutions can facilitate cooperation, but at the same time these institutions may turn into places where unfair distributions are amplified and cooperative behaviours and motivations disrupted. The agents who decide to organize themselves into firms are usually motivated by the need to earn some benefit from mutual cooperation: since they have limited knowledge and bounded rationality, team production can highly improve their results. Therefore the main motivation to enter an organization is to gain from cooperation; but this also brings problems of how to divide the surplus that is generated and we find conflicts on the attribution of benefits among stakeholders, with a particular problem of abuse of authority by those who hold power. One of the drivers of socially responsible behaviour is the quest for reputation, which in turn induces a cooperative response from the stakeholders. This can be described in game-theoretical terms with a repeated Trust Game between a trustor (the stakeholder) and a trustee (the management of the firm). The problem with reputation is that it is compatible with multiple equilibria, included the one in which stakeholders always trust the firm, and the firm often abuses this trust. This leads to consider an alternative mechanism for norm compliance: conformity and reciprocity that derive from an impartial agreement among stakeholders. The present work analyses in depth the role of an agreement on cognitions and motivations, grounding on insights from psychology, game theory and experimental findings.
    Keywords: corporate culture, CSR, social contract, agreement, trust game
    JEL: C72 M14 L14 D91
    Date: 2019–08
  3. By: Rohan Dutta; David K Levine; Salvatore Modica
    Date: 2019–08–06
  4. By: Valerio Capararo (Department of Economics, Middlesex University.); Ismael Rodriguez-Lara (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.); Maria J. Ruiz Martos (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.)
    Abstract: Recent work highlights that cooperation in the one-shot Prisoner’s dilemma (PD) is primarily driven by moral preferences for doing the right thing, rather than social preferences for equity or efficiency. By contrast, little is known on what motivates cooperation in the Stag-Hunt Game (SHG). Cooperation in the SHG fundamentally differs from cooperation in the PD in that it is not costly, but risky: players have no temptation to deviate from the cooperative outcome, but cooperation only pays off if the other player cooperates. Here, we provide data from a large (N=436), pre-registered, experiment. Contrary to what has been observed for the PD, we find that SHG cooperation is primarily driven by preferences for efficiency, rather than preferences for doing the right thing.
    Keywords: morality, cooperation, efficiency, risky choices, stag-hunt game.
    Date: 2019–08–09
  5. By: Pfister, Roland; Wirth, Robert; Weller, Lisa; Foerster, Anna; Schwarz, Katharina
    Abstract: Deliberate rule violations have typically been addressed from a motivational perspective that asked whether or not agents decide to violate rules based on contextual factors and moral considerations. Here we complement motivational approaches by providing a cognitive perspective on the processes that operate during the act of committing an unsolicited rule violation. Participants were tested in a task that allowed for violating traffic rules by exploiting forbidden shortcuts in a virtual city maze. Results yielded evidence for sustained cognitive conflict that affected performance from right before a violation throughout actually committing the violation. These findings open up a new theoretical perspective on violation behavior that focuses on processes occurring right at the moment a rule violation takes place.
    Keywords: Rule breaking Optimizing violations Cognitive conflict Cheating
    JEL: C91 D0 D81
    Date: 2018–06–25
  6. By: Remi Jedwab (George Washington University); Noel D. Johnson (George Mason University); Mark Koyama (George Mason University)
    Abstract: The Black Death killed 40% of Europe’s population between 1347-1352, making it one of the largest shocks in the history of mankind. Despite its historical importance, little is known about its spatial effects and the effects of pandemics more generally. Using a novel dataset that provides information on spatial variation in Plague mortality at the city level, as well as various identification strategies, we explore the short-run and long-run impacts of the Black Death on city growth. On average, cities recovered their pre-Plague populations within two centuries. In addition, aggregate convergence masked heterogeneity in urban recovery. We show that both of these facts are consistent with a Malthusian model in which population returns to high-mortality locations endowed with more rural and urban fixed factors of production. Land suitability and natural and historical trade networks played a vital role in urban recovery. Our study highlights the role played by pandemics in determining both the sizes and placements of populations.Creation-Date: 2019-03
    Keywords: Pandemics; Black Death; Mortality; Path Dependence; Cities; Urbanization; Malthusian Theory; Migration; Growth; Europe
    JEL: R11 R12 O11 O47 J11 N00 N13

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