nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2021‒05‒17
five papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Female Genital Cutting and the Slave Trade By Corno, Lucia; La Ferrara, Eliana; Voena, Alessandra
  2. The Volunteer's Dilemma in Finite Populations By Konrad, Kai A.; Morath, Florian
  3. Diffusion of Gender Norms: Evidence from Stalin's Ethnic Deportations By Miho, Antonela; Jarotschkin, Alexandra; Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina
  4. Consolidating behavioural economics and rational choice theory: Insights from inequality research By Klarizze Anne Martin Puzon; Rachel M. Gisselquist
  5. On the Role of Incentives in Evolutionary Approaches to Organizational Design By Stephan Leitner

  1. By: Corno, Lucia; La Ferrara, Eliana; Voena, Alessandra
    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 infibulation was used to ensure chastity. We hypothesize that differential exposure of ethnic groups to the Red Sea route determined differential 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 historically freely permitted premarital sex -- a proxy for low demand for chastity.
    Keywords: female genital cutting; FGC; FGM; Gender norms; Slave trade
    JEL: N37 O15
    Date: 2020–12
  2. By: Konrad, Kai A.; Morath, Florian
    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: collective action; finite populations; Mixed strategies; stochastic stability; volunteering
    JEL: C73 D62 H41
    Date: 2020–12
  3. By: Miho, Antonela; Jarotschkin, Alexandra; Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina
    Abstract: We study horizontal between-group cultural transmission using a unique historical setting, which combines exogenous group exposure with no control over whether and how the representativesof different groups interact. Stalin's ethnic deportations during WWII moved over 2 million people — the majority of whom were ethnic Germans and Chechens — from the Western parts of the USSR to Central Asia and Siberia. As a result, the native population of the deportation destinations was exogenously exposed to groups with drastically different gender norms. Combining historical archival data with contemporary surveys, we document that gender norms diffused from deportees tothe local population, resulting in changes in attitudes and behavior. Norms of gender equality diffused more than norms of gender discrimination.
    Keywords: Horizontal cultural transmission, Gender norms, Deportations, Stalin
    Date: 2021–04
  4. By: Klarizze Anne Martin Puzon; Rachel M. Gisselquist
    Abstract: Using illustrations from research on inequality, this paper offers evidence on the strengths of 'behavioural synthesis', i.e. the reconciliation between neoclassical and behavioural economics. We compare how theoretical models of absolute and relative inequality have evolved from assumptions of income maximization to status-seeking competition, and to altruism. We emphasize the relevance of experiments in testing competing theories and mitigating empirical shortcomings. We conclude that methodological pluralism, i.e.
    Keywords: Inequality, Behavioral economics, Behaviour, Methodology (Economics)
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Stephan Leitner
    Abstract: This paper introduces a model of a stylized organization that is comprised of several departments that autonomously allocate tasks. To do so, the departments either take short-sighted decisions that immediately maximize their utility or take long-sighted decisions that aim at minimizing the interdependencies between tasks. The organization guides the departments' behavior by either an individualistic, a balanced, or an altruistic linear incentive scheme. Even if tasks are perfectly decomposable, altruistic incentive schemes are preferred over individualistic incentive schemes since they substantially increase the organization's performance. Interestingly, if altruistic incentive schemes are effective, short-sighted decisions appear favorable since they do not only increase performance in the short run but also result in significantly higher performances in the long run.
    Date: 2021–05

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