nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2020‒12‒14
nine papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The Ancient Origins of the Wealth of Nations By Quamrul H. Ashraf; Oded Galor; Marc Klemp
  2. The Volunteer's Dilemma in Finite Populations By Kai A. Konrad; Florian Morath
  3. Personal norms — and not only social norms — shape economic behavior By Bašic, Zvonimir; Eugenio Verrina
  4. Towards an evolutionary political economy. Editorial to the inaugural issue of the Review of Evolutionary Political Economy REPE By Nathalie Lazaric; Silvano Cincotti; Wolfram Elsner; Anastasia Nesvetailova; Engelbert Stockhammer
  5. A brief history of the Reconquista (718-1492 AD): Conquest, repopulation and land distribution By Francisco J. Beltrán Tapia; Alfonso Díez-Minguela; Julio Martínez-Galarraga; Daniel A. Tirado Fabregat
  6. Political Ideology, Cooperation, and National Parochialism Across 42 Nations By Angelo Romano; Matthias Sutter; James H. Liu; Daniel Balliet
  7. The adaptive value of probability distortion and risk-seeking in macaques' decision-making By Aurélien Nioche; Nicolas P. Rougier; Marc Deffains; Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde; Sébastien Ballesta; Thomas Boraud
  8. Cognitive Skills, Strategic Sophistication, and Life Outcomes By Fe, Eduardo; Gill, David; Prowse, Victoria L.
  9. Classification of Priorities Such That Deferred Acceptance is Obviously Strategyproof By Clayton Thomas

  1. By: Quamrul H. Ashraf; Oded Galor; Marc Klemp
    Abstract: This essay explores the deepest roots of economic development. It underscores the significance of evolutionary processes in shaping fundamental individual and cultural traits, such as time preference, risk and loss aversion, and predisposition towards child quality, that have contributed to technological progress, human-capital formation, and economic development. Moreover, it highlights the persistent mark of the exodus of Homo sapiens from Africa tens of thousands of years ago on the degree of interpersonal population diversity across the globe and examines the impact of this variation in diversity for comparative economic, cultural, and institutional development across countries, regions, and ethnic groups.
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Kai A. Konrad; Florian Morath
    Abstract: We study the long-run stochastic stability properties of volunteering strategies in finite populations. We allow for mixed strategies, characterized by the probability that a player may not volunteer. A pairwise comparison of evolutionary strategies shows that the strategy with a lower probability of volunteering is advantaged. However, in the long run there are also groups of volunteering types. Homomorphisms with the more volunteering types are more frequent if the groups have fewer members, and if the benefits from volunteering are larger. Such homomorphisms with volunteering cease to exist if the group becomes infinitely large. In contrast, the disadvantage of volunteering disappears if the ratio of individual benefits and costs of volunteering becomes infinitely large.
    Keywords: Volunteering, stochastic stability, finite populations, mixed strategies, collective action
    JEL: C73 D62 H41
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Bašic, Zvonimir (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn); Eugenio Verrina (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)
    Abstract: While social norms have received great attention within economics, little is known about the role of personal norms. We propose a simple utility framework — which assumes that people care about monetary payoff, social norms and personal norms — and design a novel two-part experiment to investigate the predictive value of personal norms across four economic games. We show that personal norms — together with social norms and monetary payoff — are highly predictive of individuals’ behavior. Moreover, they are: i) inherently distinct from social norms across a series of economic contexts, ii) robust to an exogenous increase in social image concerns, which increases the predictive value of social norms but does not weaken that of personal norms, and iii) complementary to social norms in predicting behavior, as a model with both personal and social norms outperforms a model with only one of the two norms. Taken together, our results support personal norms as a key driver of economic behavior, relevant in a wide array of economic settings.
    Keywords: Personal norms, social norms, social image, reputation, elicitation method, normative conflict
    JEL: C91 D01 D63 D64 D91
    Date: 2020–10
  4. By: Nathalie Lazaric (Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, GREDEG (France)); Silvano Cincotti (UNIGE - University of Genoa); Wolfram Elsner (University of Bremen); Anastasia Nesvetailova (City University London); Engelbert Stockhammer (King‘s College London)
    Date: 2020–05
  5. By: Francisco J. Beltrán Tapia; Alfonso Díez-Minguela; Julio Martínez-Galarraga; Daniel A. Tirado Fabregat
    Abstract: This article is an attempt to summarize in the space of barely twenty pages some of the characteristics of the historical process known as the Reconquista in the territories of today’s Spain. Since this was a process that spread across eight centuries, this brief history obviously is not and does not claim to be exhaustive. On the contrary, it goes without saying that it is partial, biased and incomplete, and should be considered simply as an introduction to the subject. It looks at the Reconquista from a territorial perspective with the intention of presenting some of the key elements that led to the creation of particular institutions. These varied from region to region and, it can be argued, had an impact on the long-term economic evolution of the various territories within Spain. On the one hand, the work focuses on the timing and evolution of the military conquest of territory, from north to south, in different historical stages, while on the other it looks at the subsequent repopulation of these conquered territories as the military action moved southwards. The institutions that were created and the way society was organized at each stage of the Reconquista, including the distribution of land ownership, depended on the different factors and circumstances prevailing in each historical period.
    Keywords: land distribution, geography, institutions, Reconquista
    JEL: D02 N93 Q15 R10
    Date: 2020–12
  6. By: Angelo Romano (Leiden University); Matthias Sutter (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods); James H. Liu (Massey University, Auckland, NZ); Daniel Balliet (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Political ideology has been hypothesized to be associated with cooperation and national parochialism (i.e., greater cooperation with members of one’s nation), with liberals thought to have more cooperation with strangers and less national parochialism, compared to conservatives. However, previous findings are limited to few – and predominantly western – nations. Here, we present a large-scale cross-societal experiment that can test hypotheses on the relation between political ideology, cooperation, and national parochialism around the globe. To do so, we recruited 18,411 participants from 42 nations. Participants made decisions in a prisoner’s dilemma game, and we manipulated the nationality of their interaction partner (national ingroup member, national outgroup member, or unidentified stranger). We found that liberals, compared to conservatives, displayed slightly greater cooperation, trust in others, and greater identification with the world as a whole. Conservatives, however, identified more strongly with their own nation and displayed slightly greater national parochialism in cooperation. Importantly, the association between political ideology and behavior was significant in nations characterized by higher wealth, stronger rule of law, and better government effectiveness. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding the association between political ideology and cooperation.
    Keywords: Cooperation, political ideology, culture, parochial altruism
    Date: 2020–11
  7. By: Aurélien Nioche (Department of Communications and Networking [Aalto] - Aalto University); Nicolas P. Rougier (Mnemosyne - Mnemonic Synergy - LaBRI - Laboratoire Bordelais de Recherche en Informatique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - École Nationale Supérieure d'Électronique, Informatique et Radiocommunications de Bordeaux (ENSEIRB) - Université Sciences et Technologies - Bordeaux 1 - Université Bordeaux Segalen - Bordeaux 2 - Inria Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest - Inria - Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique - IMN - Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives [Bordeaux] - UB - Université de Bordeaux - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Marc Deffains (IMN - Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives [Bordeaux] - UB - Université de Bordeaux - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde (LEMMA - Laboratoire d'économie mathématique et de microéconomie appliquée - UP2 - Université Panthéon-Assas - Sorbonne Université, IJN - Institut Jean-Nicod - DEC - Département d'Etudes Cognitives - ENS Paris - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Département de Philosophie - ENS Paris - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres); Sébastien Ballesta (UNISTRA - Université de Strasbourg); Thomas Boraud (IMN - Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives [Bordeaux] - UB - Université de Bordeaux - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: In humans, the attitude toward risk is not neutral and is dissimilar between bets involving gains and bets involving losses. The existence and prevalence of these decision features in non-human primates are unclear. In addition, only a few studies have tried to simulate the evolution of agents based on their attitude toward risk. Therefore, we still ignore to which extent Prospect theory's claims are evolutionary rooted. To shed light on this issue, we collected data in 9 macaques that performed bets involving gains or losses. We confirmed that their overall behaviour is coherent with Prospect theory's claims. In parallel, we used a genetic algorithm to simulate the evolution of a population of agents across several generations. We showed that the algorithm selects progressively agents that exhibit risk-seeking and an inverted S-shape distorted perception of probability. We compared these two results and found that monkeys' attitude toward risk when facing losses only is congruent with the simulation. This result is consistent with the idea that gambling in the loss domain is analogous to deciding in a context of life-threatening challenges where a certain level of risk-seeking behaviours and probability distortions may be adaptive.
    Keywords: Genetic algorithm,Cognitive biases,Monkey,Autonomous Cognitive Testing,Experimental economics
    Date: 2021–01–21
  8. By: Fe, Eduardo (University of Strathclyde); Gill, David (Purdue University); Prowse, Victoria L. (Purdue University)
    Abstract: We investigate how childhood cognitive skills affect strategic sophistication and adult outcomes. In particular, we emphasize the importance of childhood theory-of-mind as a cognitive skill. We collected experimental data from more than seven hundred children in a variety of strategic interactions. First, we find that theory-of-mind ability and cognitive ability both predict level-k behavior. Second, older children respond to information about the cognitive ability of their opponent, which provides support for the emergence of a sophisticated strategic theory-of-mind. Third, theory-of-mind and age strongly predict whether children respond to intentions in a gift-exchange game, while cognitive ability has no influence, suggesting that different measures of cognitive skill correspond to different cognitive processes in strategic situations that involve understanding intentions. Using the ALSPAC birth-cohort study, we find that childhood theory-of-mind and cognitive ability are both associated with enhanced adult social skills, higher educational participation, better educational attainment, and lower fertility in young adulthood. Finally, we provide evidence that school spending improves theory-of-mind in childhood.
    Keywords: cognitive skills, theory-of-mind, cognitive ability, fluid intelligence, children, experiment, strategic sophistication, level-k, bounded rationality, non-equilibrium thinking, intentions, gift-exchange game, competitive game, strategic game, ALSPAC, social skills, adult outcomes, life outcomes, education, fertility, labor market, wages, employment, school spending, childhood intervention
    JEL: C91 D91 J24
    Date: 2020–11
  9. By: Clayton Thomas
    Abstract: We study the strategic simplicity of stable matching mechanisms where one side has fixed preferences, termed priorities. Specifically, we ask which priorities are such that the strategyproofness of deferred acceptance (DA) can be recognized by agents unable to perform contingency reasoning, that is, when is DA obviously strategyproof [Li17]? We answer this question by completely characterizing those priorities which make DA obviously strategyproof (OSP). This answers an open question of [AG18]. We find that when DA is OSP, priorities are either acyclic [Erg02], or contain an extremely limited cyclic pattern where all priority lists are identical except for exactly two. We conclude that, for stable matching mechanisms, the tension between understandability (in the sense of OSP) and expressiveness of priorities is very high.
    Date: 2020–11

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