nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2021‒06‒21
seven papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Weber Revisited: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Nationalism By Kersting, Felix; Wohnsiedler, Iris; Wolf, Nikolaus
  2. Cyclical behavior of evolutionary dynamics in coordination games with changing payoffs By George Loginov
  3. Calamities, Common Interests, Shared Identity: What Shapes Altruism and Reciprocity? By Cevat Giray Aksoy; Antonio Cabrales; Mathias Dolls; Ruben Durante; Lisa Windsteiger
  4. The roots of cooperation By Zvonimir Bašić; Parampreet C. Bindra; Daniela Glätzle-Rützler; Angelo Romano; Matthias Sutter; Claudia Zoller
  5. The Behavioural Mechanisms of Voluntary Cooperation in WEIRD and Non-WEIRD Societies By Till O. Weber; Benjamin Beranek; Simon Gaechter; Fatima Lambarraa-Lehnhardt; Jonathan F. Schulz
  6. Conformism, Social Segregation and Cultural Assimilation By Francesco Flaviano Russo
  7. Human capital transfer of German-speaking migrants in Eastern Europe, 1780s-1820s By Blum, Matthias; Krauss, Karl-Peter; Myeshkov, Dmytro

  1. By: Kersting, Felix; Wohnsiedler, Iris; Wolf, Nikolaus
    Abstract: We revisit Max Weber's hypothesis on the role of Protestantism for economic development. We show that nationalism is crucial to both, the interpretation of Weber's Protestant Ethic and empirical tests thereof. For late nineteenth-century Prussia we reject Weber's suggestion that Protestantism mattered due to an "ascetic compulsion to save". Moreover, we find that income levels, savings, and literacy rates differed between Germans and Poles, not between Protestants and Catholics, using pooled OLS and IV regressions. We suggest that this result is due to anti-Polish discrimination.
    Keywords: Max Weber; Nationalism; Protestantism
    JEL: N13 N33 O16 Z12
    Date: 2020–06
  2. By: George Loginov
    Abstract: The paper presents a model of two-speed evolution in which the payoffs in the population game (or, alternatively, the individual preferences) slowly adjust to changes in the aggregate behavior of the population. The model investigates how, for a population of myopic agents with homogeneous preferences, changes in the environment caused by current aggregate behavior may affect future payoffs and hence alter future behavior. The interaction between the agents is based on a symmetric two-strategy game with positive externalities and negative feedback from aggregate behavior to payoffs, so that at every point in time the population has an incentive to coordinate, whereas over time the more popular strategy becomes less appealing. Under the best response dynamics and the logit dynamics with small noise levels the joint trajectories of preferences and behavior converge to closed orbits around the unique steady state, whereas for large noise levels the steady state of the logit dynamics becomes a sink. Under the replicator dynamics the unique steady state of the system is repelling and the trajectories are unbounded unstable spirals.
    Date: 2021–06
  3. By: Cevat Giray Aksoy; Antonio Cabrales; Mathias Dolls; Ruben Durante; Lisa Windsteiger
    Abstract: We conduct a large-scale survey experiment in nine European countries to study how priming a major crisis (COVID-19), common economic interests, and a shared identity influences altruism, reciprocity and trust of EU citizens. We find that priming the COVID-19 pandemic increases altruism and reciprocity towards compatriots, citizens of other EU countries, and non-EU citizens. Priming common European values also boosts altruism and reciprocity but only towards compatriots and fellow Europeans. Priming common economic interests has no tangible impact on behaviour. Trust in others is not affected by any treatment. Our results are consistent with the parochial altruism hypothesis, which asserts that because altruism arises out of inter-group conflict, humans show a tendency to favor members of their own groups.
    Keywords: Covid-19, Europe, altruism, reciprocity, survey experiment
    JEL: D72 H51 H53 H55 O52 P52
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Zvonimir Bašić; Parampreet C. Bindra; Daniela Glätzle-Rützler; Angelo Romano; Matthias Sutter; Claudia Zoller
    Abstract: Understanding the roots of human cooperation among strangers is of great importance for solving pressing social dilemmas and maintening public goods in human societies. We study the development of cooperation in 929 young children, aged 3 to 6. In a unified experimental framework, we examine which of three fundamental pillars of human cooperation - direct and indirect reciprocity as well as third-party punishment - emerges earliest as an effective means to increase cooperation in a repeated prisoner's dilemma game. We find that third-party punishment exhibits a strikingly positive effect on cooperation rates by doubling them in comparison to a control condition. It promotes cooperative behavior even before punishment of defectors is applied. Children also engage in reciprocating others, showing that reciprocity strategies are already prevalent at a very young age. However, direct and indirect reciprocity treatments do not increase overall cooperation rates, as young children fail to anticipate the benefits of reputation building. We also show that the cognitive skills of children and the socioeconomic background of parents play a vital role in the early development of human cooperation.
    Keywords: Cooperation, reciprocity, third-party punishment, reputation, children, parents, cognitive abilities, socioeconomic status, prisoner's dilemma game, experiment
    JEL: C91 C93 D01 D91 H41
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Till O. Weber (University of Newcastle); Benjamin Beranek (Missouri State University); Simon Gaechter (University of Nottingham); Fatima Lambarraa-Lehnhardt (IZA, CESifo, ZALF, University of Goettingen); Jonathan F. Schulz (George Mason University)
    Abstract: We provide a framework to uncover behavioural mechanisms driving potential cross-societal differences in voluntary cooperation. We deploy our framework in one-shot public goods experiments in the US and the UK, and in Morocco and Turkey. We find that cooperation is higher in the US and UK than in Morocco and Turkey. Our framework shows that this result is driven mostly by differences in beliefs rather than in cooperative preferences, or peer punishment, which are both similar in the four subject pools. Our results highlight the central role of beliefs in explaining differences in voluntary cooperation within and across societies.
    Keywords: voluntary cooperation, experiments, public goods, cross-societal differences, behavioural framework
    Date: 2021–03
  6. By: Francesco Flaviano Russo (Università di Napoli Federico II and CSEF)
    Abstract: I develop and calibrate a model for the joint determination of cultural assimilation and social segregation of a minority. Culture evolves as a consequence of a disutility from non-conformism in social matchings, while social networks form endogenously as a result of exclusion of individuals with different beliefs and norms of behavior. The model delivers idiosyncratic assimilation patterns and the persistence of some cultural traits. I propose two measures of cultural assimilation, one for spatial comparisons and a second to assess assimilation over time. The model implies that cultural assimilation is weaker in pluralistic and denser societies, and it is not influenced by the minority share. Social segregation increases with social density and with the minority share, and it is higher for culturally more distant minorities. I compute both assimilation measures for a cross-section of European countries and show that the model is able to match the empirical evidence on assimilation.
    Keywords: Culture, Distance, Evolution.
    JEL: J15 Z10
    Date: 2021–06–08
  7. By: Blum, Matthias; Krauss, Karl-Peter; Myeshkov, Dmytro
    Abstract: Prior to the Age of Mass Migration, Germans left central Europe to settle primarily in modernday Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine and Russia. Despite the harsh conditions that the first generation of settlers had to endure, their descendants often fared better, not worse, compared to native population groups. This study offers a possible explanation for this surprising outcome. We use data on approximately 11,500 individuals to estimate and compare basic numeracy scores of German settlers and other populations groups in target regions. We find that German settlers generally had superior basic numeracy levels, suggesting that these settlers must have contributed positively to the human capital endowment in their target regions. The numeracy of Germans was somewhat higher than the numeracy of Hungarians and substantially higher than the numeracy of Russians, Ukrainians and Serbs. We do not find noteworthy differences in terms of numeracy between German emigrants and the population they left behind, suggesting the absence of substantial migrant selection.
    Keywords: Migration,Economic History,Germany,Hungary,Russian Empire,Ukraine,Eastern Europe
    JEL: N13 N23
    Date: 2021

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