nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2021‒03‒29
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. On the evolution of male competitiveness By Ingela Alger
  2. Economic consequences of pre-COVID-19 epidemics: A literature review By Noy, Ilan; Uher, Tomáš
  3. The Relation of Neoclassical Economics to other Disciplines: The case of Physics and Psychology By Stavros, Drakopoulos
  4. Revisiting the Economic Performance and Institutions Debate in SSA Countries: The Role of Legal Origins in the Context of Ethnic Heterogeneity By Bournakis, Ioannis; Rizov, Marian; Christopoulos, Dimitris
  5. Female Genital Cutting and the Slave Trade. By Lucia Corno; Eliana La Ferrara; Alessandra Voena
  6. Review of “The Routledge Handbook of the History of Women’s Economic Thought” by Kirsten Madden and Robert W. Dimand By May, Ann Mari

  1. By: Ingela Alger (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: Why are some societies monogamous and others polygynous? Most theories of polygyny invoke male heterogeneity as an explanation. Arguing that such heterogeneity depends on men's willingness to compete against each other in the first place, I propose an evolutionary game to model the evolution of this trait. Lack of competitiveness (and the associated monogamous unions) is shown to be compatible with evolution if male reproductive success decreases with the number of wives. In a model where the man and his spouse(s) make fertility and child care choices that aim at maximizing reproductive success, I show that, due to men's involvement in child care and female agency over her fertility, male reproductive success is decreasing in the number of wives under certain conditions and increasing in others. The model thus sheds light on the variation in polygyny rates across space and time in human societies.
    Keywords: Male-male competition,Competitiveness,Evolution,Monogamy,Polygyny,Parental care
    Date: 2021–03–16
  2. By: Noy, Ilan; Uher, Tomáš
    Abstract: In 2020, we all realized we should know more about the economic impacts of pandemics. Here, we summarize the contemporary research on the economic consequences of past epidemics and pandemics with a primary focus on highly infectious pathogens such as influenza and Ebola (as distinct from less infectious, but maybe ultimately more lethal or damaging diseases like AIDS). The paper draws exclusively from scientific research relating to events preceding the current COVID-19 crisis, though it does describe the many new studies completed recently in connection to the renewed scientific interest in past events. We do not focus on the on-going COVID-19 global crisis, since we believe it is premature to attempt to provide a thorough summary of our state of knowledge about this event. The economic consequences of epidemics are categorized into macroeconomic, microeconomic, socio-economic, sectoral and long-term impacts. Impact pathways and impact determinants relating to these effects are also described. This body of research suggests that epidemics have a broad range of inter-connected economic consequences through both supply and demand-side channels, with the behavioral response of individuals, communities, societies, and governments being one of the most important determinants of these impact (rather than disease prevalence and progression itself). Furthermore, the economic effects of epidemics can be long-lasting.
    Keywords: Pandemics, Epidemics, Economic costs,
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Stavros, Drakopoulos
    Abstract: Since the emergence of the classical school, the scientific ideal of physical sciences has been a constant influence on economic theory and method. Its influence is still present in contemporary neoclassical economics. Similarly to the case of physics, classical economists were very open in incorporating psychological elements in the economic discourse. This openness towards psychology continued with prominent Marginalist economists, like Jevons and Edgeworth, who were eager to draw from psychological ideas found in earlier authors. In the first decades of the 20th century, a major conceptual change in economics took place which is also known as the Paretian turn. This conceptual change, initiated mainly by Vilfredo Pareto, and completed, in the first decades of the 20th century, by J. Hicks, R. Allen and P. Samuelson, attempted to remove all psychological notions from economic theory. The legacy of the Paretian turn can still be identified in the significant reluctance of the contemporary orthodox economic theory to incorporate the findings of the new behavioral economics, a field with a discernable psychological bent. This chapter argues that the history of the relation of those two subjects to economics can lead to some potentially useful observations concerning the nature of contemporary neoclassical economics. It will also be maintained that the relationship of neoclassical economics to physics ultimately constrained its interaction with psychology.
    Keywords: Economic Methodology; Economics and Psychology; Economics and Physics; History of Economic Thought
    JEL: B0 B40
    Date: 2021–03
  4. By: Bournakis, Ioannis; Rizov, Marian; Christopoulos, Dimitris
    Abstract: We contribute to the literature of economic performance and institutions by analysing how the interplay between historical legal roots and ethnic heterogeneity can determine current economic outcomes estimating various specifications of the national production function. Our empirical investigation includes a sample of 35 Sub-Saharan (SSA) countries which are typically characterised by a high degree of ethnic fragmentation, often emanating from haphazardly drawn colonial borders, while the legal systems in Africa have been exogenously implanted by the respective colonial powers. Our main results show that although the adoption of common British law (Common) is generally associated with better economic outcomes, in the presence of high ethnic heterogeneity the French civil law (Civil) outperforms British common law in terms of national economic performance because it is more effective in promoting political stability, and coordination. The latter characteristic is necessary for the efficient use of natural resources that are often abundant in SSA countries and constitute a major source of government revenue.
    Keywords: Legal Origins, Ethnic Heterogeneity, GDP per Capita, Technical Efficiency, Sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: O43 O47 O55 P16 P17
    Date: 2021–03–10
  5. By: Lucia Corno (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore; Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Eliana La Ferrara; Alessandra Voena
    Abstract: We investigate the historical origins of female genital cutting (FGC), a harmful practice widespread across Africa. We test the hypothesis .substantiated by historical sources.that FGC was connected to the Red Sea slave trade route, where women were sold as concubines in the Middle East and in.bulation was used to ensure chastity. We hypothesize that differential exposure of ethnic groups to the Red Sea route determined di¤erential adoption of the practice. Combining individual level data from 28 African countries with novel historical data on slaves.shipments by country, ethnic group and trade routes from 1400 to 1900. We find that women belonging to ethnic groups whose ancestors were exposed to the Red Sea route are more likely to be infibulated or circumcised today and are more in favor of continuing the practice. The estimated effects are very similar when slave exports are instrumented by distance to the North-Eastern African coast. Finally, the effect is smaller for ethnic groups that historicaly freely permitted premarital sex - a proxy for low demand for chastity.
    Keywords: Female Genital Cutting, Slave Trade.
    Date: 2021–02
  6. By: May, Ann Mari
    Abstract: Book Review of “The Routledge Handbook of the History of Women’s Economic Thought” by Kirsten Madden and Robert W. Dimand
    Date: 2020–09–01

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