nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2020‒10‒12
seven papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Expanding the Measurement of Culture with a Sample of Two Billion Humans By Obradovich, Nick; Özak, Ömer; Martín, Ignacio; Awad, Edmond; Cebrián, Manuel; Cuevas, Rubén; Desmet, Klaus; Rahwan, Iyad; Cuevas, Ángel
  2. Morality and Equality from Rationality Alone - A repeated game approach of contractarianism By Alexis Louaas
  3. Evolutionary Implementation in Aggregative Games By Ratul Lahkar; Saptarshi Mukherjee
  4. Borderline Disorder: (De Facto) Historical Ethnic Borders and Contemporary Conflict in Africa By Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio; Özak, Ömer
  5. Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply By Boelmann, Barbara; Raute, Anna; Schönberg, Uta
  6. Trust, Happiness, and Pro-Social Behavior By Stefano Carattini; Matthias Roesti
  7. Towards understanding the governance of varietal and genetic diversity By Gerullis, Maria; Heckelei, Thomas; Rasch, Sebastian

  1. By: Obradovich, Nick (Max Planck Institute for Human Development); Özak, Ömer (Southern Methodist University); Martín, Ignacio (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid); Awad, Edmond (University of Exeter); Cebrián, Manuel (Max Planck Institute for Human Development); Cuevas, Rubén (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid); Desmet, Klaus (Southern Methodist University); Rahwan, Iyad (Max Planck Institute for Human Development); Cuevas, Ángel (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: Culture has played a pivotal role in human evolution. Yet, the ability of social scientists to study culture is limited by the currently available measurement instruments. Scholars of culture must regularly choose between scalable but sparse survey-based methods or restricted but rich ethnographic methods. Here, we demonstrate that massive online social networks can advance the study of human culture by providing quantitative, scalable, and high-resolution measurement of behaviorally revealed cultural values and preferences. We employ publicly available data across nearly 60,000 topic dimensions drawn from two billion Facebook users across 225 countries and territories. We first validate that cultural distances calculated from this measurement instrument correspond to traditional survey-based and objective measures of cross-national cultural differences. We then demonstrate that this expanded measure enables rich insight into the cultural landscape globally at previously impossible resolution. We analyze the importance of national borders in shaping culture, explore unique cultural markers that identify subnational population groups, and compare subnational divisiveness to gender divisiveness across countries. The global collection of massive data on human behavior provides a high-dimensional complement to traditional cultural metrics. Further, the granularity of the measure presents enormous promise to advance scholars' understanding of additional fundamental questions in the social sciences. The measure enables detailed investigation into the geopolitical stability of countries, social cleavages within both small and large-scale human groups, the integration of migrant populations, and the disaffection of certain population groups from the political process, among myriad other potential future applications.
    Keywords: gender differences, regional culture, identity, cultural distance, culture
    JEL: C80 F1 J1 O10 R10 Z10
    Date: 2020–09
  2. By: Alexis Louaas (CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - ENSAI - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Analyse de l'Information [Bruz] - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - X - École polytechnique - ENSAE ParisTech - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique, X-DEP-ECO - Département d'Économie de l'École Polytechnique - X - École polytechnique)
    Abstract: This paper highlights the role that equality and reciprocity play in preserving peace and cooperation among individuals with conflicting interests. Following the contractarian tradition, I model a mutually beneficial interaction as a prisoner's dilemma and using repeated game theory, I show that a mutually beneficial joint venture may be undertaken only if the final distribution of incomes is sufficiently egalitarian. From a pre-moral context, the model allows to derive endogenous bounds on the income of each individual that reproduce Moehler (2018)'s weak universalisation principle. Contrasting with the well-known equity-efficiency trade-off, the model also produces an equity-efficiency complementarity.
    Keywords: contractarianism,morality,equity,efficiency,game theory,norms
    Date: 2020–09–24
  3. By: Ratul Lahkar (Ashoka University); Saptarshi Mukherjee (IIT, Delhi)
    Abstract: Due to externalities, the equilibrium behavior in aggregative games is not efficient in the sense of maximizing aggregate payoff. We characterize conditions such that efficiency can be globally implemented in such games under evolutionary dynamics. If payoffs satisfy certain important concavity conditions, then the aggregate payoff function of these games has a unique maximizer. Once the planner imposes a transfer equal to the externality generated by agents, we obtain a new externality adjusted game. This is a potential game with the aggregate payoff function of the original game being its potential function. Evolutionary dynamics converge globally to the maximizer of this potential function, thereby implementing efficiency in the original game. Our earlier paper on public goods (Lahkar and Mukherjee [16]) emerges as an example of the present general analysis. Two new applications are public bads and the tragedy of the commons.
    Keywords: Aggregative Games; Externalities; Potential Games; Implementation
    Date: 2020–09
  4. By: Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile); Özak, Ömer (Southern Methodist University)
    Abstract: We explore the effect of historical ethnic borders on contemporary conflict in Africa. We document that both the intensive and extensive margins of contemporary conflict are higher close to historical ethnic borders. Exploiting variations across artificial regions within an ethnicity's historical homeland and a theory-based instrumental variable approach, we find that regions crossed by historical ethnic borders have 27 percentage points higher probability of conflict and 7.9 percentage points higher probability of being the initial location of a conflict. We uncover several key underlying mechanisms: competition for agricultural land, population pressure, cultural similarity and weak property rights.
    Keywords: borders, conflict, territory, property rights, landownership, population pressure, migration, historical homelands, development, Africa, Voronoi tessellation, Thiessen tessellation
    JEL: D74 N57 O13 O17 O43 P48 Q15 Q34
    Date: 2020–09
  5. By: Boelmann, Barbara; Raute, Anna; Schönberg, Uta (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany])
    Abstract: "Does the culture in which a woman grows up influence her labor market decisions once she has had a child? To what extent might the culture of her present social environment shape maternal labor supply? To address these questions, we exploit the setting of German reunification. A state socialist country, East Germany strongly encouraged mothers to participate in the labor market full-time, whereas West Germany propagated a more traditional male breadwinner-model. After reunification, these two cultures were suddenly thrown together, with consequent increased social interactions between East and West Germans through migration and commuting. A comparison of East and West German mothers on both sides of the former Inner German border within the same commuting zone shows that culture matters. Indeed, East German mothers return to work more quickly and for longer hours than West German mothers even two decades after reunification. Second, in exploiting migration across this old border, we document a strong asymmetry in the persistence of the culture in which women were raised. Whereas East German female migrants return to work earlier and work longer hours than their West German colleagues even after long exposure to the more traditional West German culture, West German migrants adjust their post-birth labor supply behavior nearly entirely to that of their East German colleagues. Finally, taking advantage of differential inflows of East German migrants across West German firms in the aftermath of reunification, we show that even a partial exposure to East German colleagues induces 'native' West German mothers to accelerate their return to work after childbirth, suggesting that migration might be a catalyst for cultural change." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en)) Additional Information Zusammenfassung
    JEL: J01
  6. By: Stefano Carattini; Matthias Roesti
    Abstract: This paper combines several large-scale surveys with different identification strategies to shed new light on the determinants of cooperative behavior. We provide evidence indicating that the well-being maximizing level of trust is above the income maximizing level. Higher trust is also linked to more cooperative and pro-social behaviors, including the private provision of global public goods such as climate change mitigation. Consistent with “warm glow” theories of pro-social behavior, our results show that individuals may enjoy being more cooperative than what would lead them to maximize their income, which is reflected in higher levels of well-being.
    Keywords: cooperation, generalized trust, pro-social behaviour, pro-environmental behavior, well-being
    JEL: Q50 H41 I31 D64
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Gerullis, Maria; Heckelei, Thomas; Rasch, Sebastian
    Keywords: Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Environmental Economics and Policy
    Date: 2020–09–18

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