nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2021‒03‒01
nine papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Marriage Norms and Fertility Outcomes in Developing Countries By Aniema Atorudibo
  2. Economics students: self-selected in preferences and indoctrinated in beliefs By Antonio M. Espín; Manuel Correa; Alberto Ruiz-Villaverde
  3. Culture, Institutions & the Long Divergence By Alberto Bisin; Jared Rubin; Avner Seror; Thierry Verdier
  4. Honesty in the City By Dufwenberg, Martin; Servátka, Maroš; Tarrasó, Jorge; Vadovič, Radovan
  5. In-group versus Out-group Preferences in Intergroup Conflict: An Experiment By Subhasish M. Chowdhury; Anwesha Mukherjee; Roman M. Sheremeta
  6. The Great Transition: Kuznets Facts for Family-Economists By Jeremy Greenwood; Nezih Guner; Ricardo Marto
  7. Historical Instruments and Contemporary Endogenous Regressors By Gregory Casey; Marc Klemp
  8. The Historical Gender Gap Index: A Longitudinal and Spatial Assessment of Sweden, 1870-1990 By Karlsson, Tobias; Kok, Joris; Perrin, Faustine
  9. Is Attention Produced Rationally? By Erin T. Bronchetti; Judd B. Kessler; Ellen B. Magenheim; Dmitry Taubinsky; Eric Zwick

  1. By: Aniema Atorudibo
    Abstract: Recent UN data show that the lifetime fertility of women in developed countries has fallen below 2.1 live births. By contrast, fertility rates in most developing countries have remained quite high despite falling mortality rates. This paper examines the effect of culture on fertility outcomes in developing countries, using the norms of premarital sexual behaviour as a measure of culture. Three types of norms are identified viz., the emphasis on female early marriage, the emphasis on female virginity at marriage, and weakly censuring premarital sexual behaviour. These differences in premarital rules are a source of identifying variation in the age at first birth and the number of children. Using a sample of women aged 15 to 49 from Africa and Turkey, the study shows that premarital sexual norms significantly affect the age at first birth and the number of children per woman. It finds that the cultural emphasis on early marriage significantly lowers a woman’s age at first birth while it raises her fertility level relative to the culture which weakly censures female premarital sexual relations. Conversely, the emphasis on female virginity at marriage increases the age at first birth and lowers fertility relative to the comparison group.
    Keywords: Fertility; Adolescent fertility; Premarital norms; Cultural preferences
    Date: 2021–01
  2. By: Antonio M. Espín (Department of Social Anthropology, University of Granada); Manuel Correa (Department of Applied Economics, University of Granada); Alberto Ruiz-Villaverde (Department of Applied Economics, University of Granada)
    Abstract: There is much debate as to why economics students display more self-interested behavior than other students: whether homo economicus self-select into economics or students are instead “indoctrinated†by economics learning, and whether these effects impact on preferences or beliefs about others’ behavior. Using a classroom survey (n>500) with novel behavioral questions we show that, compared to students in other majors, econ students report being: (i) more self-interested (in particular, less compassionate or averse to advantageous inequality) already in the first year and the difference remains among more senior students; (ii) more likely to think that people will be unwilling to work if unemployment benefits increase (thus, assuming others are motivated primarily by self-interest), but only among senior students. These results suggest self-selection in preferences and indoctrination in beliefs.
    Keywords: self-selection, indoctrination, self-interest, inequality aversion, beliefs
    JEL: A11 A13 A22 D31 D63 D9 I22
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Alberto Bisin (NYU, NBER, and CEPR); Jared Rubin (Chapman University); Avner Seror (Aix-Marseille School of Economics); Thierry Verdier (PSE, Ecole des Ponts-Paris Tech, PUC-Rio, and CEPR)
    Abstract: Recent theories of the Long Divergence between Middle Eastern and Western European economies focus on Middle Eastern (over-)reliance on religious legitimacy, use of slave soldiers, and persistence of restrictive proscriptions of religious (Islamic) law. These theories take as exogenous the cultural values that complement the prevailing institutions. As a result, they miss the role of cultural values in either supporting the persistence of or inducing change in the economic and institutional environment. In this paper, we address these issues by modeling the joint evolution of institutions and culture. In doing so, we place the various hypotheses of economic divergence into one, unifying framework. We highlight the role that cultural transmission plays in reinforcing institutional evolution toward either theocratic or secular states. We extend the model to shed light on political decentralization and technological change in the two regions.
    Keywords: Long Divergence; cultural transmission; institutions; legitimacy; religion
    JEL: O10 P16 P48 N34 N35 Z12 O33
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Dufwenberg, Martin; Servátka, Maroš; Tarrasó, Jorge; Vadovič, Radovan
    Abstract: Lab evidence on trust games involves more cooperation than conventional economic theory predicts. We explore whether this pattern extends to a field setting where (much like in a lab) we are able to control for (lack of) repeat-play and reputation: cab drivers in Mexico City. We find a remarkably high degree of trustworthiness, also with price-haggling, which is predicted to reduce trustworthiness.
    Keywords: trust, honesty, reciprocity, field experiment, haggling, taxis
    JEL: C72 C90 C93
    Date: 2021–02–22
  5. By: Subhasish M. Chowdhury (School of Economics, University of Bath); Anwesha Mukherjee (School of Management, Technische Universitat München); Roman M. Sheremeta (Weatherhead School of Management, Case western Reserve University and Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)
    Abstract: Individuals participating in a group conflict have different preferences, e.g., maximizing their own payoff, maximizing the group’s payoff, or defeating the rivals. When such preferences are present simultaneously, it is difficult to distinctly identify the impact of those preferences on conflict. In order to separate in-group and out-group preferences, we conduct an experiment in which human in-group or out-group players are removed while keeping the game strategically similar. Our design allows us to study (i) how effort in a group conflict vary due to in-group and out-group preferences, and (ii) how the impact of these preferences vary when the two groups have explicitly different social identities. The results of our experiment show that the presence of in-groups enhances concern about individual payoffs. A further presence of outgroups moderates the concern for individual payoffs through an additional concern for own group payoffs. The negative effect of the in-group preferences and the positive effect of the out-group preferences are weaker when group members have a common social identity.
    Keywords: Group conflict; Contest; Identity; Social preferences
    JEL: C91 C92 D74 D91
    Date: 2021
  6. By: Jeremy Greenwood (University of Pennsylvania); Nezih Guner (Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros (CEMFI)); Ricardo Marto (University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: The 20th century beheld a dramatic transformation of the family. Some Kuznets style facts regarding structural change in the family are presented. Over the course of the 20th century in the United States fertility declined, educational attainment waxed, housework fell, leisure increased, and marriage waned. These trends are also observed in the cross-country data. A model is developed, and then calibrated, to address the trends in the US data. The calibration procedure is closely connected to the underlying economic logic. Three drivers of the great transition are considered: neutral technological progress, skilled-biased technological change, and drops in the price of labor-saving household durables.
    Keywords: average weekly hours, blue-collar jobs, calibration, college premium, education, family economics, fertility, housework. Kuznets, leisure, market work, marriage, neutral technological progress, price of labor-saving household durables, skilled-biased technological change, white-collar jobs
    JEL: D10 E13 J10 O10
    Date: 2021–03
  7. By: Gregory Casey (Williams College); Marc Klemp (University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: We provide a simple framework for interpreting instrumental variable regressions when there is a gap in time between the impact of the instrument and the measurement of the endogenous variable, highlighting a particular violation of the exclusion restriction that can arise in this setting. In the presence of this violation, conventional IV regressions do not consistently estimate a structural parameter of interest. Building on our framework, we develop a simple empirical method to estimate the long-run effect of the endogenous variable. We use our bias correction method to examine the role of institutions in economic development, following Acemoglu et al. (2001). We find long-run coefficients that are smaller than the coefficients from the original work, demonstrating the quantitative importance of our framework.
    Keywords: Long-Run Economic Development, Instrumental Variable Regression
    JEL: C10 C30 O10 O40
    Date: 2021–01–14
  8. By: Karlsson, Tobias (Department of Economic History, Lund University); Kok, Joris (International Institute of Social History); Perrin, Faustine (Department of Economic History, Lund University)
    Abstract: Our knowledge of the long-run evolution of gender equality is limited. We currently lack quantitative indicators capable of capturing the variations on and changes in the individual dimensions of gender equality. This paper seeks to assess the long-run evolution of gender roles and relations in Sweden. To this end, we build a database with quantitative indicators of gender equality. These indicators allow us to construct a Historical Gender Gap Index (HGGI), which isused to describe and analyze the evolution of gender equality in Sweden during a phase characterized by industrialization, urbanization and demographic transition. We find that after a period of stagnation, Sweden from the 1940s onwards made significant progress in closing the gender gap to reach the high level of gender equality that it is now famous for. All counties have made substantial improvements in closing the gap over time, although some counties have been quicker than others. Our investigation reveals the existence of a convergence pattern between counties.
    Keywords: Gender Equality; Index; Development Process; Sweden
    JEL: J16 N33 O11
    Date: 2021–02–03
  9. By: Erin T. Bronchetti (Swarthmore College - Department of Economics); Judd B. Kessler (University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School; NBER); Ellen B. Magenheim (Swarthmore College - Department of Economics); Dmitry Taubinsky (University of California, Berkeley; NBER); Eric Zwick (University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; NBER)
    Abstract: A large and growing literature shows that attention-increasing interventions, such as reminders and planning prompts, can promote important behaviors. This paper develops a method to investigate whether people value attention-increasing tools rationally. We characterize how the demand for attention improvements must vary with the pecuniary incentive to be attentive and develop quantitative tests of rational inattention that we deploy in two experiments. The first is an experiment with an online education platform run in the field (n=1,373), in which we randomize incentives to complete course modules and incentives to make plans to complete the modules. The second is an online survey-completion experiment (n=944), in which we randomize incentives to complete a survey three weeks later and the price of reminders to complete the survey. In both experiments, as incentives to complete a task increase, demand for attention-improving technologies also increases. However, our tests suggest that the increase in demand for attention improvements is too small relative to the null of full rationality, indicating that people underuse attention-increasing tools. In our second experiment, we estimate that individuals undervalue the benefits of reminders by 59%.
    JEL: C91 C93 D91
    Date: 2020

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