nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2021‒10‒11
five papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Land distribution and inequality in a black settler colony: the case of Sierra Leone, 1792–1831 By Galli, Stefania; Rönnbäck, Klas
  2. The emergence of cooperation from shared goals in the Systemic Sustainability Game of common pool resources By Chengyi Tu; Paolo DOdorico; Zhe Li; Samir Suweis
  3. On the empirical relevance of correlated equilibrium By Friedman, Dan; Rabanal, Jean Paul; Rud, Olga A; Zhao, Shuchen
  4. Deepening and Widening Social Identity Analysis in Economics By Davis, John B.
  5. The Future of  Heterodox  Economics By Teresa Ghilarducci; Zachary Knauss; Richard McGahey; William Milberg; Drew Landes; Edward Nilaj

  1. By: Galli, Stefania; Rönnbäck, Klas
    Abstract: Land distribution is considered to be one of the main contributors to inequality in pre-industrial societies. This article contributes to the debate on the origins of economic inequality in pre-industrial African societies by studying land inequality at a particularly early stage of African economic history. The research examines land distribution and inequality in land ownership among settlers in the Colony of Sierra Leone for three benchmark years over the first 40 years of its existence. The findings show that land inequality was low at the founding of the Colony but increased substantially over time. We suggest that this increase was enabled by a shift in the type of egalitarianism pursued by the colonial authorities, which was reflected in a change in the redistributive policy applied, which allowed later settlers to appropriate land more freely than had been previously possible.
    JEL: N57
    Date: 2021–02–01
  2. By: Chengyi Tu; Paolo DOdorico; Zhe Li; Samir Suweis
    Abstract: The sustainable use of common-pool resources (CPRs) is a major environmental governance challenge because of their possible over-exploitation. Research in this field has overlooked the feedback between user decisions and resource dynamics. Here we develop an online game to perform a set of experiments in which users of the same CPR decide on their individual harvesting rates, which in turn depend on the resource dynamics. We show that, if users share common goals, a high level of self-organized cooperation emerges, leading to long-term resource sustainability. Otherwise, selfish/individualistic behaviors lead to resource depletion ("Tragedy of the Commons"). To explain these results, we develop an analytical model of coupled resource-decision dynamics based on optimal control theory and show how this framework reproduces the empirical results.
    Date: 2021–10
  3. By: Friedman, Dan; Rabanal, Jean Paul (University of Stavanger); Rud, Olga A (University of Stavanger); Zhao, Shuchen
    Abstract: Can an efficient correlated equilibrium emerge without any exogenous benevolent agent providing coordinating signals? Theoretical work in adaptive dynamics suggests a positive answer, which we test in a laboratory experiment. In the well-known Chicken game, we observe time average play that is close to the asymmetric pure Nash equilibrium in some treatments, and in other treatments we observe collusive play. In a game resembling rock-paper-scissors or matching pennies, we observe time average play close to a correlated equilibrium that is more efficient than the unique Nash equilibrium. Estimates and simulations of adaptive dynamics capture much of the observed regularities.
    Keywords: Correlated equilibrium; Laboratory experiment; Adaptive dynamics
    JEL: A00
    Date: 2021–09–29
  4. By: Davis, John B. (Department of Economics Marquette University)
    Abstract: Abstract: This paper is a contribution to the Erasmus Journal of Economics and Philosophy symposium on Dasgupta and Goyal’s “Narrow Identities†(2019) that models how individuals develop social identities. They do not distinguish categorical and relational social identities, model only social group social identities, minimize intersectionality (having multiple social group identities), and ignore inter-relational, social role social identities. In a club theory-like analysis, they portray the world as locked into polarized social group rivalries, where democracy matters little compared to social group loyalty. A problem with explaining social identity only in terms of social group identity is that the ‘identify with’ basis of social group loyalty undermines saying people are distinct individuals. Dasgupta and Goyal use the standard circular preferences conception of what makes people distinct individuals, so they cannot say individuals do not disappear into social groups. However, a relational social roles-based social identity analysis offers a way of explaining how people can be distinct individuals and have social identities, particularly where social group identities are connected to social role identities. This analysis is outlined using a distinction between relatively closed and relatively open behavioral domains.
    Keywords: social identity, social groups, social roles
    JEL: B41 B50
    Date: 2021–09
  5. By: Teresa Ghilarducci; Zachary Knauss; Richard McGahey; William Milberg; Drew Landes; Edward Nilaj (Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA))
    Abstract: We assess economics research and teaching frameworks in the United States by examining how knowledge is produced and ranked, the flaws and strengths of heterodox economic theory; and how students are trained, especially for careers in economic policy. We challenge the meaning of established terminology such as ‘heterodoxy’ and ‘mainstream’ by investigating their utility as a marker and to illuminate major barriers to the successful adoption of alternative economic theories in academia and the public discourse. Based on interviews with experienced economists working with heterodox paradigms in both mainstream and heterodox institutions, we identify three barriers 1) Neoclassical hegemony, 2) Weakness of heterodox theory, and 3) Pedagogy and training in economics.
    Keywords: Heterodox economics; pedagogy and training; cross discipline synthesis
    JEL: H55 J26 J32
    Date: 2021–03

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