nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2021‒09‒27
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Inequity aversion and limited foresight in the repeated prisoner's dilemma By Backhaus, Teresa; Breitmoser, Yves
  2. Herding, Warfare, and a Culture of Honor: Global Evidence By Yiming Cao; Benjamin Enke; Armin Falk; Paola Giuliano; Nathan Nunn
  3. Persistence studies: a new kind of economic history? By Martina Cioni; Giovani Federico; Michelangelo Vasta
  4. Why Ideology Exists By Jon D. Wisman
  5. Emergent Collaboration in Social Purpose Games By Robert P. Gilles; Lina Mallozzi; Roberta Messalli
  6. What Feeds on What? Networks of Interdependencies between Culture and Institutions By Nadia von Jacobi; Vito Amendolagine

  1. By: Backhaus, Teresa; Breitmoser, Yves
    Abstract: Reanalyzing 12 experiments on the repeated prisoner's dilemma (PD), we robustly observe three distinct subject types: defectors, cautious cooperators and strong cooperators. The strategies used by these types are surprisingly stable across experiments and uncorrelated with treatment parameters, but their population shares are highly correlated with treatment parameters. As the discount factor increases, the shares of defectors decrease and the relative shares of strong cooperators increase. Structurally analyzing behavior, we next find that subjects have limited foresight and assign values to all states of the supergame, which relate to the original stage-game payoffs in a manner compatible with inequity aversion. This induces the structure of coordination games and approximately explains the strategies played using Schelling's focal points: after (c,c) subjects play according to the coordination game's cooperative equilibrium, after (d,d) they play according to its defective equilibrium, and after (c,d) or (d, c) they play according to its mixed equilibrium.
    Keywords: Repeated game,Behavior,Tit-for-tat,Mixed strategy,Memory,Belief-freeequilibrium,Laboratory experiment
    JEL: C72 C73 C92 D12
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Yiming Cao; Benjamin Enke; Armin Falk; Paola Giuliano; Nathan Nunn
    Abstract: According to the widely known ‘culture of honor’ hypothesis from social psychology, traditional herding practices are believed to have generated a value system that is conducive to revenge-taking and violence. We test this idea at a global scale using a combination of ethnographic records, historical folklore information, global data on contemporary conflict events, and large-scale surveys. The data show systematic links between traditional herding practices and a culture of honor. First, the culture of pre-industrial societies that relied on animal herding emphasizes violence, punishment, and revenge-taking. Second, contemporary ethnolinguistic groups that historically subsisted more strongly on herding have more frequent and severe conflict today. Third, the contemporary descendants of herders report being more willing to take revenge and punish unfair behavior in the globally representative Global Preferences Survey. In all, the evidence supports the idea that this form of economic subsistence generated a functional psychology that has persisted until today and plays a role in shaping conflict across the globe.
    JEL: N0 Z1
    Date: 2021–09
  3. By: Martina Cioni; Giovani Federico; Michelangelo Vasta
    Abstract: Since the early years of the 21st century, economists have started to look for the historical roots of current economic outcomes. In this article we deal with this new approach (called persistence studies), as represented by the 75 articles published in ten leading economics journals. We outline the key features (issues, period, geographical area of interest, etc.) of this articles and we discuss their citational record, in comparison with the (much more numerous) economic history articles in the same journals. We also explore the affiliation and training of the 121 authors of persistence studies, highlighting the role of some Boston institutions as the cradle of the new approach.
    Keywords: persistence studies, economic history, citational success, top journals
    JEL: A11 A12 B4 N01
    Date: 2021–08
  4. By: Jon D. Wisman
    Abstract: Understanding the role of ideology is of fundamental importance for understanding social dynamics since the rise of the state 5,500 years ago. Yet this importance has not received adequate attention from social scientists and historians. Even when addressed, it most often has suffered from imprecise meaning and a failure to clearly specify why it is effective. Following the usage by Marx, this article defines ideology as an instrument of exploitation which enables the stronger to persuade the weaker to support behavior and institutions that are counter to their interests. Exploitation exists because humans are biologically driven to compete for status which provides them with reproductive advantage. What ultimately drives competition among all species is the struggle to send one’s unique set of genes into posterity. The biological ancestors of all currently living beings did so successfully. This article surveys how this biologically driven struggle eventually led to weapons and social organization that enabled the stronger to subjugate and exploit the weaker. Ideology evolved as religion was transformed to justify this exploitation by depicting it as in accord with cosmic forces. Ideology provided a more efficient means of maintaining exploitation than violence. With the rise of capitalism, secular doctrines, and especially political economy and then economics, joined and eventually mostly replaced religion in serving as ideology justifying exploitation.
    Keywords: Ideology, exploitation, inequality, legitimation, religion
    JEL: B15 N40 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Robert P. Gilles; Lina Mallozzi; Roberta Messalli
    Abstract: We study a class of non-cooperative aggregative games -- denoted as \emph{social purpose games} -- in which the payoffs depend separately on a player's own strategy (individual benefits) and on a function of the strategy profile which is common to all players (social benefits) weighted by an individual benefit parameter. This structure allows for an asymmetric assessment of the social benefit across players. We show that these games have a potential and we investigate its properties. We investigate the payoff structure and the uniqueness of Nash equilibria and social optima. Furthermore, following the literature on partial cooperation, we investigate the leadership of a single coalition of cooperators while the rest of players act as non-cooperative followers. In particular, we show that social purpose games admit the emergence of a stable coalition of cooperators for the subclass of \emph{strict} social purpose games. Due to the nature of the partial cooperative leadership equilibrium, stable coalitions of cooperators reflect a limited form of farsightedness in their formation. As a particular application, we study the tragedy of the commons game. We show that there emerges a single stable coalition of cooperators to curb the over-exploitation of the resource.
    Date: 2021–09
  6. By: Nadia von Jacobi; Vito Amendolagine
    Abstract: We propose a methodology inspired by ecology to map the complex interdepen- dencies between cultural and institutional factors - controlling for other socioeco- nomic and structural characteristics. We characterize interdependencies as asym- metric symbiotic relations, distinguishing between ‘hosts’ that nurture other factors and ‘symbionts’ that reversely feed on the former. We use correlation network anal- ysis to compute a map of multiple such interdependencies for Brazil, which has a vast territory, internally diversified historical paths and a multilevel governance structure. We set the empirical analysis at the municipality level and find that in- stitutional factors tend to be symbionts, whereas cultural factors tend to be hosts. However, our results also show that institutions assume multiple roles within a com- plex network of interdependencies, often becoming themselves habitat for others or transmittors of indirect effects.
    Keywords: Institutions, Culture, Symbiosis, Correlation network analysis, Brazil
    JEL: O17 O43 C18 D02 H70
    Date: 2021

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