nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2021‒02‒22
five papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. In search of a suitable heuristic for evolutionary economics: from generalized Darwinism to economic self-organisation. By Foster, John
  2. SIR Economic Epidemiological Models with Disease Induced Mortality By Aditya Goenka; Lin Liu; Manh-Hung Nguyen
  3. Bitter Sugar: Slavery and the Black Family By Graziella Bertocchi; Arcangelo Dimico
  4. The dynamics of cooperation, power, and inequality in a group-structured society By Tverskoi, Denis; Senthilnathan, Athmanathan; Gavrilets, Sergey
  5. Approximate Expected Utility Rationalization By Federico Echenique; Kota Saito; Taisuke Imai

  1. By: Foster, John
    Abstract: The generalised Darwinism heuristic for application in evolutionary economics is evaluated. Although conceptually useful, it is found to be lacking as a basis for empirical research. Instead, the economic self-organisation heuristic is offered as a viable scientific alternative which has an explicit connection with an augmented logistic diffusion methodology which can be applied directly to the modelling of historical data in phases of economic growth. It is also argued that economists cannot analyse economic evolution without the parallel involvement of researchers from other disciplines.
    Keywords: Evolutionary economics, complex economic system, generalised Darwinism, economic self-organisation, logistic diffusion
    JEL: B41 B5 B52 O3 O33
    Date: 2021–02–16
  2. By: Aditya Goenka; Lin Liu; Manh-Hung Nguyen
    Abstract: This paper studies an optimal growth model where there is an infectious disease with SIR dynamics which can lead to mortality. Health expenditures (alternatively intensity of lockdowns) can be made to reduce infectivity of the disease. We study implications of two different ways to model the disease related mortality - early and late in infection mortality - on the equilibrium health and economic outcomes. In the former, increasing mortality reduces infections by decreasing the fraction of infectives in the population, while in the latter the fraction of infectives increases. We characterize the steady states and the outcomes depend in the way mortality is modeled. With early mortality, increasing mortality leads to higher equilibrium per capita output and consumption while in the late mortality model these decrease. We establish sufficiency conditions and provide the first results in economic models with SIR dynamics with and without disease related mortality - a class of models which are non-convex and have endogenous discounting so that no existing results are applicable.
    Keywords: Infectious diseases, Covid-19, SIR model, mortality, sufficiency condi-tions, economic growth, lockdown, prevention, health expenditure
    JEL: E13 E22 D15 D50 D63 I10 I15 I18 O41 C61
    Date: 2021–01
  3. 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 influence of African cultural traditions
    Keywords: Black family, slavery, sugar, migration, culture
    JEL: J12 J47 N30 O13 Z10
    Date: 2020–05
  4. By: Tverskoi, Denis; Senthilnathan, Athmanathan; Gavrilets, Sergey
    Abstract: Most human societies are characterized by the presence of groups which cooperate through joint actions but also compete for resources and power. The processes of within- and between- group cooperation and competition have shaped human history over the last several millennia. To deepen our understanding of the underlying social dynamics, we model a society subdivided into groups with constant sizes and dynamically changing powers. Both individuals within groups and groups themselves participate in collective actions. The groups are also engaged in political contests over power which determines how resources are distributed. Using analytical approximations and agent-based simulations, we show that the model exhibits rich behavior characterized by multiple stable equilibria and, under some conditions, non-equilibrium dynamics. The strength of democratic institutions plays a key role: increasing it promotes cooperation, reduces variation in power, and mitigates inequality among groups. We show that increasing potential benefits of between-group cooperation promotes it only in societies with strong democratic institutions. We show that small groups are successful in competition if the jointly-produced goods are rivalrous and the potential benefit of cooperation is small. Otherwise large groups dominate. Overall our model contributes towards a better understanding of the causes of variation between societies in terms of the economic and political inequality within them.
    Date: 2021–02–08
  5. By: Federico Echenique; Kota Saito; Taisuke Imai
    Abstract: We propose a new measure of deviations from expected utility theory. For any positive number~$e$, we give a characterization of the datasets with a rationalization that is within~$e$ (in beliefs, utility, or perceived prices) of expected utility theory. The number~$e$ can then be used as a measure of how far the data is to expected utility theory. We apply our methodology to data from three large-scale experiments. Many subjects in those experiments are consistent with utility maximization, but not with expected utility maximization. Our measure of distance to expected utility is correlated with subjects' demographic characteristics.
    Date: 2021–02

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