nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2020‒06‒22
seven papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Ancestral Norms, Legal Origins, and Female Empowerment By Abel Brodeur; Marie Christelle Mabeu; Roland Pongou
  2. Evolution in Pecunia By Rabah Amir; Igor V. Evstigneev; Thorsten Hens; Valeriya Potapova; Klaus Reiner Schenk-Hoppé
  3. Long-term effects of the Paraguayan War (1864 - 1870): From male scarcity to intimate partner violence By Boggiano, Barbara
  4. Bitter Sugar: Slavery and the Black Family By Graziella Bertocchi; Arcangelo Dimico
  5. Do Kantians drive others to extinction? By Jean-François Laslier
  6. Cognition, Optimism and the Formation of Age-Dependent Survival Beliefs By Grevenbrock, Nils; Groneck, Max; Ludwig, Alexander; Zimper, Alexander
  7. On the Causes and Consequences of Deviations from Rational Behavior By Dainis Zegners; Uwe Sunde; Anthony Strittmatter

  1. By: Abel Brodeur (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa); Marie Christelle Mabeu (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON); Roland Pongou (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON)
    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 significantly 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
  2. By: Rabah Amir (University of Iowa - Henry B. Tippie College of Business - Department of Economics; Universidad de los Andes, Chile - School of Business and Economics); 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); Klaus Reiner Schenk-Hoppé (University of Manchester - Department of Economics; Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Finance)
    Abstract: The paper models evolution in pecunia in the realm of finance. Financial markets are explored as evolving biological systems. Investors pursuing diverse investment strategies compete for the market capital. Some `survive' and some `become extinct.' A central goal is to identify evolutionary stable, i.e. guaranteeing survival, investment strategies. The problem is studied in a framework combining stochastic dynamics and evolutionary game theory. The model proposed employs only objectively observable market data, in contrast with traditional settings relying upon unobservable investors characteristics (utilities and beliefs). The main result is a construction of an evolutionary stable strategy in the model at hand.
    Keywords: Evolutionary finance, financial markets, evolutionarily stable investment strategies, survival, stochastic dynamics, local stability
    JEL: C73 G11
    Date: 2020–05
  3. By: Boggiano, Barbara
    Abstract: This paper investigates the long-term effects of the Paraguayan War (1864-1870) on intimate partner violence. The identification of these causal effects relies on a novel historical dataset from which I exploit the distance from municipalities to military camps during the war. Over 130 years later, the likelihood of intimate partner violence is still 5.54 percent higher than average in municipalities that were more heavily affected by the war. The loss of life among men led to female-biased sex ratios and defined Paraguay as the 'country of women'. However, I show that, contrary to conventional wisdom, female-biased sex ratios are not the only driver of the long-term effects of the war. Instead, the main transmission channel is the relative status of females within the household. Male scarcity leads to atypical status inconsistencies within the household that do not respect traditional gender roles and induces intimate partner violence that is transmitted across generations.
    Keywords: intimate partner violence,long-term effects,gender norms,male scarcity
    JEL: I15 N36 O15 Z10
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Graziella Bertocchi; Arcangelo Dimico
    Abstract: We empirically assess the effect of historical slavery on the African American family structure. Our hypothesis is that female single headship among blacks is more likely to emerge in association not with slavery per se, but with slavery in sugar plantations, since the extreme demographic and social conditions prevailing in the latter have persistently affected family formation patterns. By exploiting the exogenous variation in sugar suitability, we establish the following. In 1850, sugar suitability is indeed associated with extreme demographic outcomes within the slave population. Over the period 1880-1940, higher sugar suitability determines a higher likelihood of single female headship. The effect is driven by blacks and starts fading in 1920 in connection with the Great Migration. OLS estimates are complemented with a matching estimator and a fuzzy RDD. Over a linked sample between 1880 and 1930, we identify an even stronger intergenerational legacy of sugar planting for migrants. By 1990, the effect of sugar is replaced by that of slavery and the black share, consistent with the spread of its influence through migration and intermarriage, and black incarceration emerges as a powerful mediator. By matching slaves' ethnic origins with ethnographic data we rule out any infuence of African cultural traditions.
    Keywords: Black family, slavery, sugar, migration, culture
    JEL: J12 J47 N30 O13 Z10
    Date: 2020–05
  5. By: Jean-François Laslier (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: I comment on the claim by John Roemer that \in games of pure coordination, Kantians drive Nashers to extinction". Using an explicit dynamic model of evolution, I notice that in these games, Kantian optimizers do not always drive sel sh optimizers to extinction.
    Date: 2020–05
  6. By: Grevenbrock, Nils; Groneck, Max; Ludwig, Alexander; Zimper, Alexander
    Abstract: This paper investigates the roles psychological biases play in deviations between subjective survival beliefs (SSBs) and objective survival probabilities (OSPs). We model deviations between SSBs and OSPs through age-dependent inverse S-shaped probability weighting functions. Our estimates suggest that implied measures for cog- nitive weakness increase and relative optimism decrease with age. We document that direct measures of cognitive weakness and optimism share these trends. Our regression analyses confirm that these factors play strong quantitative roles in the formation of subjective survival beliefs. Our main finding is that cognitive weakness rather than op- timism is an increasingly important contributor to the well-documented overestimation of survival chances in old age.
    Keywords: Cognition; Con rmatory Bias; Optimism; Pessimism; Probability Weighting Function; Subjective Survival Beliefs
    JEL: D83 D91 I10
    Date: 2020–05
  7. By: Dainis Zegners; Uwe Sunde; Anthony Strittmatter
    Abstract: This paper presents novel evidence for the prevalence of deviations from rational behavior in human decision making - and for the corresponding causes and consequences. The analysis is based on move-by-move data from chess tournaments and an identification strategy that compares behavior of professional chess players to a rational behavioral benchmark that is constructed using modern chess engines. The evidence documents the existence of several distinct dimensions in which human players deviate from a rational benchmark. In particular, the results show deviations related to loss aversion, time pressure, fatigue, and cognitive limitations. The results also demonstrate that deviations do not necessarily lead to worse performance. Consistent with an important influence of intuition and experience, faster decisions are associated with more frequent deviations from the rational benchmark, yet they are also associated with better performance.
    Date: 2020–05

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