nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2021‒05‒31
thirteen papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The Economic Impact of the Black Death By Jedwab, Remi; Johnson, Noel; Koyama, Mark
  2. Accounting for the Great Divergence: Recent findings from historical national accounting By Stephen Broadberry
  3. Universalization and altruism By Jean-François Laslier
  4. How Experiments with Children Inform Economics By John A. List; Ragan Petrie; Anya Samek
  5. Evolutionary dynamics in heterogeneous populations: a general framework for an arbitrary type distribution By Dai Zusai
  6. Narratives and the Economics of the Family By Akerlof, Robert; Rayo, Luis
  7. Gender and Culture By Giuliano, Paola
  8. The Race between Population and Technology: Real wages in the First Industrial Revolution By Crafts, Nicholas; Mills, Terence C
  9. Religious Festivals and Economic Development: Evidence from Catholic Saint Day Festivals in Mexico By Eduardo Montero; Dean Yang
  10. Heterogeneous beliefs and approximately self-fulfilling outcomes By Gabriel Desgranges; Sayantan Ghosal
  11. The Giving Game By Peter Weijland
  12. Culture, Institutions and Social Equilibria: A Framework By Daron Acemoglu; James A. Robinson
  13. Culture, Institutions and Policy By Persson, Torsten; Tabellini, Guido

  1. By: Jedwab, Remi; Johnson, Noel; Koyama, Mark
    Abstract: The Black Death was the largest demographic shock in European history. We review the evidence for the origins, spread, and mortality of the disease. We document that it was a plausibly exogenous shock to the European economy and trace out its aggregate and local impacts in both the short-run and the long-run. The initial effect of the plague was highly disruptive. Wages and per capita income rose. But, in the long-run, this rise was only sustained in some parts of Europe. The other indirect long-run effects of the Black Death are associated with the growth of Europe relative to the rest of the world, especially Asia and the Middle East (the Great Divergence), a shift in the economic geography of Europe towards the Northwest (the Little Divergence), the demise of serfdom in Western Europe, a decline in the authority of religious institutions, and the emergence of stronger states. Finally, avenues for future research are laid out
    Keywords: Black Death; Cities; Demography; institutions; Long-run Growth; Malthusian Theory; Pandemics; Urbanization
    JEL: I14 I15 J11 N00 N13 O0 O43
    Date: 2020–08
  2. By: Stephen Broadberry
    Abstract: As a result of recent work on historical national accounting, it is now possible to establish more firmly the timing of the Great Divergence of living standards between Europe and Asia in the eighteenth century. There was a European Little Divergence as Britain and the Netherlands overtook Italy and Spain, and an Asian Little Divergence as Japan overtook China and India. The Great Divergence occurred because Japan grew more slowly than Britain and the Netherlands starting from a lower level, and because of a strong negative growth trend in Qing dynasty China. A growth accounting framework is used to assess the contributions of labour, human and physical capital, land and total factor productivity. In addition to these proximate sources, the roles of institutions and geography are examined as the ultimate sources of the divergent growth patterns.
    Keywords: Great Divergence; living standards; measurement; explanation
    JEL: N10 N30 N35 O10 O57
    Date: 2021–03–17
  3. By: Jean-François Laslier (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: To any normal form game, we associate the symmetric two-stage game in which, in a first stage, the roles to be played in the base game are randomly assigned. We show that any equilibrium of the κ-universalization of this extended game is an equilibrium of the base game played by altruistic players ("ex ante Homo Moralis is altruistic"), and that the converse is false. The paper presents the implications of this remark for the philosophical nature of ethical behavior (Kantianism behind the veil of ignorance implies but is stronger than altruism) and for its evolutionary foundations.
    Keywords: ethics,games,evolution,altruism,universalization,Kant,Homo Moralis ethics,Homo Moralis
    Date: 2021–05
  4. By: John A. List; Ragan Petrie; Anya Samek
    Abstract: In the past several decades the experimental method has lent deep insights into economics. One perhaps surprising area that has contributed is the experimental study of children, where advances as varied as the evolution of human behaviors that shape markets and institutions, to how early life influences shape later life outcomes, have been explored. We first develop a framework for economic preference measurement that provides a lens into how to interpret data from experiments with children. Next, we survey work that provides general empirical insights within our framework. Finally, we provide 10 tips for pulling off experiments with children, including factors such as taking into account child competencies, causal identification, and logistical issues related to recruitment and implementation. We envision the experimental study of children as a high growth research area in the coming decades as social scientists begin to more fully appreciate that children are active participants in markets who (might) respond predictably to economic incentives.
    JEL: C9 D1 J1
    Date: 2021–05
  5. By: Dai Zusai
    Abstract: We present a general framework of evolutionary dynamics under persistent heterogeneity in payoff functions and revision protocols, allowing continuously many types in a game with finitely many strategies. Unlike the preceding literature, we do not assume anonymity of the game or aggregability of the dynamic. The dynamic is rigorously formulated as a differential equation of a joint probability measure of types and strategies. To establish a foundation of this framework, we clarify regularity assumptions on the revision protocol, the game and the type distribution to guarantee the existence of a unique solution trajectory as well as those to guarantee the existence of an equilibrium in a heterogeneous population game. We further verify equilibrium stationarity in general and stability in potential games under admissible dynamics. Our framework exhibits a wide range of possible applications, including equilibrium selection in Bayesian games and spatial evolution.
    Date: 2021–05
  6. By: Akerlof, Robert; Rayo, Luis
    Abstract: We augment Becker's classic model of the family by assuming that, in addition to caring about consumption, the family wishes to further a subjective story, or narrative, that captures its deeply held values. Our focus is on two stories that in many ways are polar opposites. The first one--the protector narrative--gives rise to a type of traditional family where gender roles are distinct, men and women are pushed towards "separate spheres," and men are expected to be tough and authoritarian. The second one--the fulfillment narrative--gives rise to a type of modern family where roles are less distinct, family members have greater latitude in their decisions, and marriages are based to a greater extent on romantic love. We derive a rich bundle of behaviors associated with each story, and using survey data, we show that our findings are consistent with a variety of empirical patterns.
    Keywords: Family; Gender norms; Marriage; narratives
    JEL: D10 Z10
    Date: 2020–08
  7. By: Giuliano, Paola
    Abstract: This paper reviews the literature on gender and culture. Gender gaps in various outcomes (competitiveness, labor force participation, and performance in mathematics, amongst many others) show remarkable differences across countries and tend to persist over time. The economics literature initially explained these differences by looking at standard economic variables such as the level of development, women's education, the expansion of the service sector, and discrimination. More recent literature has argued that gender differences in a variety of outcomes could reflect underlying cultural values and beliefs. This article reviews the literature on the relevance of culture in the determination of different forms of gender gap. I examine how differences in historical situations could have been relevant in generating gender differences and the conditions under which gender norms tend to be stable or to change over time, emphasizing the role of social learning. Finally, I review the role of different forms of cultural transmission in shaping gender differences, distinguishing between channels of vertical transmission (the role of the family), horizontal transmission (the role of peers), and oblique transmission (the role of teachers or role models).
    Keywords: Culture; Gender; Social norms
    JEL: A13 J16 Z1
    Date: 2020–08
  8. By: Crafts, Nicholas; Mills, Terence C
    Abstract: We investigate a structural model of demographic-economic interactions for England during 1570 to 1850. We estimate that the annual rate of population growth consistent with constant real wages was 0.4 per cent before 1760 but 1.5 per cent thereafter. We find that exogenous shocks increased population growth dramatically in the early decades of the Industrial Revolution. Simulations of our model show that if these demographic shocks had occurred before the Industrial revolution the impact on real wages would have been catastrophic and that these shocks were largely responsible for very slow growth of real wages during the Industrial Revolution.
    Keywords: Epidemic disease; industrial revolution; Malthusian checks; nuptiality; population growth; real wages; technological progress
    JEL: N13 N33
    Date: 2020–08
  9. By: Eduardo Montero; Dean Yang
    Abstract: Societies worldwide spend substantial resources celebrating religious festivals. How do festivals influence economic and social outcomes? We study Catholic patron saint day festivals in Mexico, exploiting two features of the setting: (i) municipal festival dates vary across the calendar and were determined in the early history of towns after Spanish conquest, and (ii) there is considerable variation in the intra-annual timing of agricultural seasons. We compare municipalities with “agriculturally-coinciding” festivals (those that coincide with peak planting or harvest months) to other municipalities, examining differences in long-run economic development and social outcomes. Agriculturally-coinciding festivals have negative effects on household income and other development outcomes. They also lead to lower agricultural productivity and higher share of the labor force in agriculture, consistent with agriculturally-coinciding festivals inhibiting the structural transformation of the economy. Agriculturally-coinciding festivals also lead to higher religiosity and social capital, potentially explaining why such festivals persist in spite of their negative growth consequences.
    JEL: N36 O1 Z12
    Date: 2021–05
  10. By: Gabriel Desgranges; Sayantan Ghosal
    Abstract: When are heterogenous beliefs compatible with equilibrium and if not, which non-equilibrium outcomes do they lead to? In this paper, we examine the conditions under which heterogenous beliefs lead to approximately self-fulfilling outcomes consistent with all that is commonly known by each agent via an iterative elimination process. We develop a formal definition of approximately self-fulfilling outcomes, p-consensus, and an associated, continuous measure of the degree of stability of equilibrium, p-stability. Applying our concepts to intertemporal trade in a two period economy, we examine how heterogenous beliefs and heterogenous preferences interact to create to asset price bubbles.
    Keywords: p-consensus, p-stability, equilibrium, rationalizability, heterogeneous, beliefs, preferences, games, markets
    JEL: C70 D84
    Date: 2021–05
  11. By: Peter Weijland
    Abstract: This paper describes a basic model of a gift economy in the shape of a Giving Game and reveals the fundamental structure of such a game. Main result is that the game shows a community effect in that a small subgroup of players eventually keeps all circulating goods for themselves. Example applications are where computers are sharing processing power for complex calculations, or when commodity traders are making transactions in some professional community. The Giving Game may equally well be viewed as a basic model of clientelism or corruption. Keywords in this paper are giving, gift economy, community effect, stabilization, computational complexity, corruption, micro-economics, game theory, stock trading, distributed computing, crypto currency, blockchain.
    Date: 2021–05
  12. By: Daron Acemoglu; James A. Robinson
    Abstract: This paper proposes a new framework for studying the interplay between culture and institutions. We follow the recent sociology literature and interpret culture as a \repertoire", which allows rich cultural responses to changes in the environment and shifts in political power. Specifically, we start with a culture set, which consists of attributes and the feasible connections between them. Combinations of attributes produce cultural configurations, which provide meaning, interpretation and justification for individual and group actions. Cultural figurations also legitimize and support different institutional arrangements. Culture matters as it shapes the set of feasible cultural figurations and via this channel institutions. Yet, changes in politics and institutions can cause a rewiring of existing attributes, generating very different cultural configurations. Cultural persistence may result from the dynamics of political and economic factors - rather than being a consequence of an unchanging culture. We distinguish cultures by how fluid they are - whereby more fluid cultures allow a richer set of cultural configurations. Fluidity in turn depends on how specific (vs. abstract) and entangled (vs. free-standing) attributes in a culture set are. We illustrate these ideas using examples from African, England, China, the Islamic world, the Indian caste system and the Crow. In all cases, our interpretation highlights that culture becomes more of a constraint when it is less fluid (more hardwired), for example because its attributes are more specific or entangled. We also emphasize that less fluid cultures are not necessarily "bad cultures", and may create a range of benefits, though they may reduce the responsiveness of culture to changing circumstances. In many instances, including in the African, Chinese and English cases, we show that there is a lot of fluidity and very different, almost diametrically-opposed, cultural configurations are feasible, often compete with each other for acceptance and can gain the upper hand depending on political factors.
    JEL: P10 P16 P50
    Date: 2021–05
  13. By: Persson, Torsten; Tabellini, Guido
    Abstract: We review theoretical and empirical research on the dynamic interactions between cultures and institutions. We think about culture as a system of values and about institutions as formalized rules of the game. Our presentation is organized around a simple theoretical framework of political agency, which is gradually expanded so as to introduce new links and feedbacks between culture and institutions.
    Keywords: Culture; Development; History; institutions; Persistence
    JEL: H0 N0 O1
    Date: 2020–08

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