nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2020‒08‒10
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The Theory of Matriarchism: The Universal Origin of Human By Kazi Abdul, Mannan
  2. Foundations of the Age-Area Hypothesis By Matthew J. Baker
  3. A Veblenian Critique of Nelson and Winter’s Evolutionary Theory By Jo, Tae-Hee
  4. An Experiment on the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution. Causes and Impact on Equality By Antonio J. Morales; Ismael Rodriguez-Lara
  5. Planar Beauty Contests By Mikhail Anufriev; John Duffy; Valentyn Panchenko
  6. Religion in Economic History: A Survey By Sascha O. Becker; Jared Rubin; Ludger Woessmann

  1. By: Kazi Abdul, Mannan
    Abstract: There are evolutionary information, evidence from fossil records, physical adaptations, the rise of Homo sapiens, the evolution of civilization, physiology, reproduction, the life cycle, biodiversity, structural diversity, psychology and theology, after all these theories, example and explanation, can we say something that will clarify our knowledge of how we humans are actually born? What is the true outline of our birth in this world? The question is simple but where can I get the right answer? Does the answer seem much easier to us than the question? So the real outline can only be found by doing a review by identifying someone around you as a sample. There is a physical external connection with my birth which we call the navel. This navel is the bond of my birth and as soon as I came to earth it was or is separated from my mother. Although there are many types of people in today's world, there is still no evidence that this process is an exception. So the correct answer through this paper is that man was born on earth separated from his/her mother by his/her own navel and only a woman on earth can save human existence. If we can reconnect all the navels of the world, we will see that our source is from a single woman. Reconnecting the navels may not be possible even in the current age of epistemology, but a closer look at the images, thus, this paper is unveiling the simple answer to our difficult question will emerge before our eyes.
    Keywords: human, origin, evolution, fossil, civilization, physiology, reproduction, life-cycle, biodiversity, structural-diversity, psychology, theology
    JEL: Z1 Z10 Z11 Z12 Z13 Z19
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Matthew J. Baker (Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY)
    Abstract: The Age-Area Hypothesis (AAH) from historical linguistics is an often-used tool in reconstructing the current and past geographical distribution of culture. The AAH states that the point of origin of a group of related cultures is likely where the group's languages are most divergent or most diverse. In spite of its wide application, the hypothesis is imprecise and completely unfounded in any theory. I describe a model of the AAH based on an economic theory of mass migrations. The theory leads to a family of measures of cultural divergence, which I refer to as Dyen divergence measures after Dyen (1956). I use one measure to prove an Age-Area Theorem. The associated theory allows computation of the likelihood different locations are origin points for a group of related cultures, and can be applied recursively to yield probabilities of different historical migratory paths and timings of migratory events. The theory suggests an Occam's razor-like result in that migratory paths that are simplest are also the most likely. The paper concludes with an application to the geographical origins of the peoples speaking Semitic languages.
    Keywords: comparative linguistics, age-area hypothesis cultural evolution, mass migration, long-run growth
    JEL: D01 J11 J15 N9
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Jo, Tae-Hee
    Abstract: It is often argued that Richard Nelson and Sydney Winter’s evolutionary theory is an alternative to neoclassical economics and is compatible with or complementary to Veblenian evolutionary economics. This paper subjects such arguments to critical examination. I argue that while Nelson and Winter’s theory provides a more realistic account of the firm behavior than Marshallian-neoclassical theory does, it is a neoclassical evolutionary theory in much the same sense as Marshall’s economics is quasi-evolutionary, ‘neo-classical’ economics according to Veblen. Therefore, Nelson and Winter’s evolutionary theory is in fact a protective modification of neoclassical economics and is antithetical to Veblen’s evolutionary economics.
    Keywords: Thorstein Veblen, Richard Nelson, Sydney Winter, Evolutionary Theory, Institution
    JEL: B15 B25 B52
    Date: 2020–06–26
  4. By: Antonio J. Morales (Universidad de Málaga); Ismael Rodriguez-Lara (Universidad de Granada; Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)
    Abstract: Testing causal relationships expressed by mathematical models on facts about human behaviour across history is challenging. A prominent example is the Neolithic agricultural revolution [1]. Many theoretical models of the adoption of agriculture has been put forward [2] but none has been tested. The only exception is [3], that uses a computational approach with agent-based simulations of evolutionary games. Here, we propose two games that resemble the conditions of human societies before and after the agricultural revolution. The agricultural revolution is modelled as an exogenous shock in the lab (n=180, 60 independent groups), and the transition from foraging to farming results from an equilibrium selection process decided by experimental subjects. The experimental data replicate the known facts that foragers organized themselves around division of labour [4] and were more egalitarian than farmers [5]. There is also evidence of bi-modal distribution along the foraging-farming axis with many in-between groups [6, 7, 8]. These results provide direct evidence that the modes of production determine the system of values of societies (inequality) and lend support for the idea that human moved in a widespread manner from foraging to farming societies. We also find that cultural and institutional preconditions were crucial for farming [9], as more egalitarian foraging groups adopted earlier agricultural techniques, but inequality raises in farming societies as agriculture settles [10], with the long run success of agriculture being determined by the land-owner’s legitimacy. These results enrich our understanding of the Neolithic agricultural revolution and highlight the relevance of experimental methodology to generate a rich dataset that complements the fragmented evidence from archaeological sites.
    Keywords: Inequality; Agricultural Revolution; Foragers Societies; Farming Societies; Property Rights; Land-owner; Human Values; Experimental Economics
    JEL: C72 C92 D02 D31 D70 N00 N50 O33 P14 Z13
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Mikhail Anufriev (University of Technology Sydney); John Duffy (University of California); Valentyn Panchenko (UNSW Business School)
    Abstract: We introduce a planar beauty contest game where agents must simultaneously guess two, endogenously determined variables, a and b. The system of equations determining the actual values of a and b is a coupled system; while the realization of a depends on the average forecast for a, a, as in a standard beauty contest game, the realization of b depends on both a and on the average forecast for b, b. Our aim is to better understand the conditions under which agents learn the steady state of such systems and whether the eigenvalues of the system matter for the convergence or divergence of this learning process. We find that agents are able to learn the steady state of the system when the eigen- values are both less than 1 in absolute value (the sink property) or when the steady state is saddle path stable with the one root outside the unit circle being negative. By contrast, when the steady state exhibits the source property (two unstable roots) or is saddle path stable with the one root outside the unit circle being positive, subjects are unable to learn the steady state of the system. We show that these results can be explained by either an adaptive learning model or a mixed cognitive levels model, while other approaches, e.g., na•ve or homo-geneous level-k learning, do not consistently predict whether subjects converge to or diverge away from the steady state.
    Keywords: Beauty Contest; Learning; Stability; Simultaneous Equation Systems, Level-k cognitive theory
    JEL: C30 C92 D83 D84
    Date: 2019–06–01
  6. By: Sascha O. Becker (Monash University; University of Warwick); Jared Rubin (Chapman University); Ludger Woessmann (ifo Institute, University of Munich)
    Abstract: This chapter surveys the recent social science literature on religion in economic history, covering both socioeconomic causes and consequences of religion. Following the rapidly growing literature, it focuses on the three main monotheisms—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—and on the period up to WWII. Works on Judaism address Jewish occupational specialization, human capital, emancipation, and the causes and consequences of Jewish persecution. One set of papers on Christianity studies the role of the Catholic Church in European economic history since the medieval period. Taking advantage of newly digitized data and advanced econometric techniques, the voluminous literature on the Protestant Reformation studies its socioeconomic causes as well as its consequences for human capital, secularization, political change, technology diffusion, and social outcomes. Works on missionaries show that early access to Christian missions still has political, educational, and economic consequences in present-day Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Much of the economics of Islam focuses on the role that Islam and Islamic institutions played in political-economy outcomes and in the “long divergence†between the Middle East and Western Europe. Finally, cross-country analyses seek to understand the broader determinants of religious practice and its various effects across the world. We highlight three general insights that emerge from this literature. First, the monotheistic character of the Abrahamic religions facilitated a close historical interconnection of religion with political power and conflict. Second, human capital often played a leading role in the interconnection between religion and economic history. Third, many socioeconomic factors matter in the historical development of religions.
    Keywords: Judaism; Christianity; Islam; Economic development; Education; Persecution;; Political Economy; Finance; Specialization; Trade
    JEL: Z12 N00 J15 I15 I25
    Date: 2020

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