nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2021‒03‒08
three papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Estimating Social Preferences and Kantian Morality in Strategic Interactions By Ingela Alger; Boris van Leeuwen
  2. How Cultures Converge: An Empirical Investigation of Trade and Linguistic Exchange By Arthur Blouin; Julian Dyer
  3. Culture, Institutions & the Long Divergence By Alberto Bisin; Jared Rubin; Avner Seror; Thierry Verdier

  1. By: Ingela Alger (Department of economics, Tilburg University - Tilburg University [Netherlands]); Boris van Leeuwen (TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: Recent theoretical work suggests that a form of Kantian morality has evolutionary foundations. To investigate the relative importance of Kantian morality and social preferences, we run laboratory experiments on strategic interaction in social dilemmas. Using a structural model, we estimate social preferences and morality concerns both at the individual level and the aggregate level. We observe considerable heterogeneity in social preferences and Kantian morality. A finite mixture analysis shows that the subject pool is well described as consisting of two types. One exhibits a combination of inequity aversion and Kantian morality, while the other combines spite and Kantian morality.
    Date: 2021–02–16
  2. By: Arthur Blouin; Julian Dyer
    Abstract: This paper empirically investigates whether potential gains from trade influence cultural convergence. We develop a model of linguistic convergence where individuals adopt another language to facilitate trade with that group, and diffuse elements of the language throughout their own culture. The model maps to a dataset of linguistic adoption, featuring nearly all words in all languages. We construct a society-pair measure of language adoption that we show is related to welfare gains from agricultural trade. In particular, we show empirically that (1) improved trade-partner quality can cause cultural convergence; (2) adoption is inverse-U shaped in the quantity of trade-partners; (3) economic leverage determines the direction of convergence. We also provide evidence that the language adoption we identify is cultural rather than purely functional by showing that religious and social organization word-types (amongst others) are heavily adopted.
    Keywords: Language Evolution; Linguistic Distance; Linguistic Exchange; Loanwords; Trade Incentives
    JEL: O11 O12 O13
    Date: 2021–02–25
  3. By: Alberto Bisin; Jared Rubin; Avner Seror; Thierry Verdier
    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.
    JEL: N34 N35 O10 O33 P16 P48
    Date: 2021–02

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