nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2020‒04‒27
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Ancestral Norms, Legal Origins, and Female Empowerment By Brodeur, Abel; Mabeu, Marie Christelle; Pongou, Roland
  2. Behavioral Equilibrium and Evolutionary Dynamics in Asset Markets By Igor V. Evstigneev; Thorsten Hens; Valeriya Potapova; Klaus Reiner Schenk-Hoppé
  3. Instability of Defection in the Prisoner’s Dilemma: Best Experienced Payoff Dynamics Analysis By Arigapudi, Srinivas; Heller, Yuval; Milchtaich, Igal
  4. Adaptive Rationality in Strategic Interaction: Do Emotions Regulate Thinking about Others? By Timo Ehrig; Monica Jaison Manjaly; Aditya Singh; Shyam Sunder
  5. Survival of the Confucians: social status and fertility in China, 1400-1900 By Hu, Sijie
  6. Gendered Language By Jakiela, Pamela; Ozier, Owen

  1. By: Brodeur, Abel (University of Ottawa); Mabeu, Marie Christelle (University of Ottawa); Pongou, Roland (University of Ottawa)
    Abstract: A large literature documents persistent impacts of formal historical institutions. However, very little is known about how these institutions interact with ancestral traditions to determine long-term economic and social outcomes. This paper addresses this question by studying the persistent effect of legal origins on female economic empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa, and how ancestral cultural norms of gender roles may attenuate or exacerbate this effect. Taking advantage of the arbitrary division of ancestral ethnic homelands across countries with different legal origins, we directly compare women among the same ethnic group living in civil law countries and common law countries. We find that, on average, women in common law countries are signicantly more educated, are more likely to work in the professional sector, and are less likely to marry at young age. However, these effects are either absent or significantly lower in settings where ancestral cultural norms do not promote women’s rights and empowerment. In particular, we find little effect in bride price societies, patrilocal societies, and societies where women were not involved in agriculture in the past. Our findings imply that to be optimal, the design of formal institutions should account for ancestral traditions.
    Keywords: legal origins, ancestral norms, women's empowerment, gender roles
    JEL: D03 I25 J16 N37
    Date: 2020–03
  2. By: Igor V. Evstigneev (University of Manchester - Economics, School of Social Sciences); Thorsten Hens (University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance; Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (NHH); Swiss Finance Institute); Valeriya Potapova (University of Manchester - Economics, School of Social Sciences); Klaus Reiner Schenk-Hoppé (University of Manchester - Department of Economics; Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Finance)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes a dynamic stochastic equilibrium model of an asset market based on behavioral and evolutionary principles. The core of the model is a non-traditional game-theoretic framework combining elements of stochastic dynamic games and evolutionary game theory. Its key characteristic feature is that it relies only on objectively observable market data and does not use hidden individual agents' characteristics (such as their utilities and beliefs). A central goal of the study is to identify an investment strategy that allows an investor to survive in the market selection process, i.e., to keep with probability one a strictly positive, bounded away from zero share of market wealth over an infinite time horizon, irrespective of the strategies used by the other players. The main results show that under very general assumptions, such a strategy exists, is asymptotically unique and easily computable.
    Keywords: Evolutionary finance, Behavioral finance, Stochastic dynamic games, DSGE, survival portfolio rules.
    JEL: C73 D53 D58 G11 G02
    Date: 2020–04
  3. By: Arigapudi, Srinivas; Heller, Yuval; Milchtaich, Igal
    Abstract: We study population dynamics under which each revising agent tests each strategy k times, with each trial being against a newly drawn opponent, and chooses the strategy whose mean payoff was highest. When k = 1, defection is globally stable in the prisoner’s dilemma. By contrast, when k > 1 we show that there exists a globally stable state in which agents cooperate with probability between 28% and 50%. Next, we characterize stability of strict equilibria in general games. Our results demonstrate that the empirically-plausible case of k > 1 can yield qualitatively different predictions than the case of k = 1 that is commonly studied in the literature.
    Keywords: learning, cooperation, best experienced payoff dynamics, sampling equilibrium, evolutionary stability
    JEL: C72 C73
    Date: 2020–04–11
  4. By: Timo Ehrig (Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Leipzig); Monica Jaison Manjaly (Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar); Aditya Singh (Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar); Shyam Sunder (School of Management and Cowles Foundation, Yale University)
    Abstract: Forming beliefs or expectations about others’ behavior is fundamental to strategy, as it co-determines the outcomes of interactions in and across organizations. In the game theoretic conception of rationality, agents reason iteratively about each other to form expectations about behavior. According to prior scholarship, actual strategists fall short of this ideal, and attempts to understand the underlying cognitive processes of forming expectations about others are in their infancy. We propose that emotions help regulate iterative reasoning, that is, their tendency to not only reflect on what others think, but also on what others think about their thinking. Drawing on a controlled experiment, we ï¬ nd that a negative emotion (fear) deepens the tendency to engage in iterative reasoning, compared to a positive emotion (amusement). Moreover, neutral emotions yield even deeper levels of reasoning. We tentatively interpret these early ï¬ ndings and speculate about the broader link of emotions and expectations in the context of strategic management. Extending the view of emotional regulation as a capability, emotions may be building blocks of rational heuristics for strategic interaction and enable interactive decision-making when strategists have little experience with the environment.
    Date: 2020–04
  5. By: Hu, Sijie
    Abstract: This paper uses the genealogical records of 35,691 men to test one of the fundamental assumptions of the Malthusian model. Did higher living standards result in increased net reproduction? An empirical investigation of China between 1400 and 1900 finds a positive relationship between social status and fertility. The gentry scholars, the Confucians, produced three times as many sons as the commoners, and this status effect on fertility was stronger in the post-1600 period than in the pre-1600 period. The effect disappears once I control for the number of marriages. Increased marriages among upper-class males drove reproductive success in Imperial China. The results add a demographic perspective to explain the lack of modern economic growth in Imperial China.
    Keywords: fertility; social status; marriages; reproductive success; Malthusian mechanism; China
    JEL: J13 J12 N35
    Date: 2020–04–01
  6. By: Jakiela, Pamela (Center for Global Development); Ozier, Owen (World Bank)
    Abstract: Languages use different systems for classifying nouns. Gender languages assign nouns to distinct sex-based categories, masculine and feminine. We construct a new data set, documenting the presence or absence of grammatical gender in more than 4,000 languages which together account for more than 99% of the world's population. We find a robust negative cross-country relationship between prevalence of gender languages and women's labor force participation and educational attainment. We replicate these associations in four countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and in India, showing that educational attainment and female labor force participation are lower among those whose native languages use grammatical gender.
    Keywords: grammatical gender, language, gender, linguistic determinism, labor force participation, educational attainment, gender gaps
    JEL: J16 Z10 Z13
    Date: 2020–04

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