nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2019‒09‒16
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. "Diversity and Conflict" By Cemal Eren Arbath; Quamrul H. Ashraf; Oded Galor; Marc Klemp
  2. Hinduism and Women Religious Beliefs and Practices By Hari Priya Pathak
  3. Working for a Living? Women and Children’s Labour Inputs in England, 1260-1850 By Sara Horrell; Jane Humphries; Jacob Weisdorf
  4. The Great Divergence in South Africa: Population and Wealth Dynamics Over Two Centuries By von Fintel, Dieter; Fourie, Johan

  1. By: Cemal Eren Arbath; Quamrul H. Ashraf; Oded Galor; Marc Klemp
    Abstract: This research advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that interpersonal population diversity, rather than fractionalization or polarization across ethnic groups, has been pivotal to the emergence, prevalence, recurrence, and severity of intrasocietal conflicts. Exploiting an exogenous source of variations in population diversity across nations and ethnic groups, as determined predominantly during the exodus of humans from Africa tens of thousands of years ago, the study demonstrates that population diversity, and its impact on the degree of diversity within ethnic groups, has contributed significantly to the risk and intensity of historical and contemporary civil conflicts. The findings arguably reflect the contribution of population diversity to the non-cohesivnesss of society, as reflected partly in the prevalence of mistrust, the divergence in preferences for public goods and redistributive policies, and the degree of fractionalization and polarization across ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups.
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Hari Priya Pathak (Kumaun University, Nainital, Uttarakhand, India)
    Abstract: Religion plays a significant role in structuring and maintaining a society by enforcing certain morals and norms. Like any other religion, Hinduism has guided the Hindus to live in a particular way since time immemorial. India is predominantly a Hindu society and Hinduism has had a huge impact on the structure, function and culture of Indian societies. Ancient Hindu scriptures like the Vedas and Upanishads show profound respect for the feminine principle. It is the Supreme Being, from who all emanate. A woman is a Goddess to be worshipped. During ancient times, the condition of women was in conformity with the religion and they enjoyed freedom, equality and liberty in all spheres of life. However, subsequently, the emergence of texts like the Epics, Smritis, Sastras, vernacular writings and oral traditions, redefined an ideal woman and led to the practices where women were subservient to men. This dissonance and conflict between religious beliefs and practices has strengthened in present times, and has witnessed a steep rise in the number of crimes against women. Increasing domestic violence, sexual violation, female feticide, dowry deaths, declining ratio of women and men and the taboos (arising from having a female body, such as, menstruation) are causing not only distress but also widespread criticism and revolt among women and society at large. Despite the Indian Constitution rejecting any kind of discrimination against women and deeming it unlawful, these inhuman atrocities against women are on the rise. More than ever, there is a need to take refuge in the religion (early Vedic period), not to be too staunch, but to be flexible, democratic and liberal in our outlook with dynamic times and ever shifting contexts. This paper proposes to study (with particular reference to India), the religious beliefs in Hinduism concerning women, and the gradual discord between the beliefs and practices leading to discrimination against women in many spheres today.
    Keywords: religion, Hinduism, Vedic Period, culture, scriptures, beliefs, practices
    Date: 2019–07
  3. By: Sara Horrell; Jane Humphries; Jacob Weisdorf
    Abstract: We use new estimates of men, women, and children’s wages in combination with cost-of-living indices to explore family living standards across six centuries of English history. A family perspective enables us to quantify the labour inputs required from women and children in circumstances when men’s earnings alone were insufficient to secure a decent standard of living, and so to register the historical relevance of the male breadwinner model. We employ a life-cycle approach where pre-marital savings help married couples manage increasing numbers of dependent children as well as other periods of economic pressure. We find that the male breadwinner model was generally insufficient for a ‘respectable’ standard of living; women and sometimes children were required to contribute and, even then, couples still faced poverty during old age. However, with the exception of the pre-Black Death period and the first half of the 17th-century, child labour was not essential and in the early modern era and old-age poverty was in retreat. We reconcile our findings with evidence of a surge in child-labour in the late 1700s and early 1800s, with reference to early modern economic growth, and its association with industriousness and consumerism, twin developments which served to stimulate the Industrial Revolution.
    Keywords: Living Standards; Prices, Wages
    JEL: J22 N13 O10
    Date: 2019–08–30
  4. By: von Fintel, Dieter (African Economic History Network); Fourie, Johan (African Economic History Network)
    Abstract: Does wealth persist over time, despite the disruptions of historical shocks like colonisation? This paper shows that South Africa experienced a reversal of fortunes after the arrival of European settlers in the eastern half of the country. Yet this was not, as some have argued was the case elsewhere in colonial Africa, because of an institutional reversal. We argue, instead, that black South Africans found themselves at the mercy of two extractive regimes: those in `white South Africa and those in the `homelands. The political and economic institutions of each of those regimes favoured a small elite: in white South Africa, whites, and in the homelands, the black chiefs and headmen. Democracy brought inclusive institutions for black residents in white South Africa but not for those in the former home- lands. This is why we see mass migration to the urban areas of South Africa today, and why addressing the institutional weaknesses of the former homelands is key to alleviating the poverty in these regions where a third of South Africans still reside.
    Keywords: reversal of fortunes; population persistence; institutional reversal; colonial impact; settler economy; African economic history; traditional leaders
    JEL: J10 J11 N37 N57
    Date: 2019–08–22

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