nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2022‒01‒03
seven papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Pragmatic Behavior: grounding behavioral economics on pragmatism By Pablo Garcés
  2. Historical Prevalence of Infectious Diseases and Entrepreneurship: the Role of Institutions in 125 Countries By Omang O. Messono; Simplice A. Asongu
  3. Identifying self-image concerns from motivated beliefs: Does it matter how and whom you ask? By Lata Gangadharan; Philip J. Grossman; Nina Xue
  4. Calamities, Common Interests, Shared Identity: What Shapes Altruism and Reciprocity? By Cevat Giray Aksoy; Antonio Cabrales; Mathias Dolls; Ruben Durante; Lisa Windsteiger
  5. An Institutional Perspective on the Economics of the Family By Siwan Anderson; Chris Bidner
  6. Shifting Punishment on Minorities: Experimental Evidence of Scapegoating By Michal Bauer; Jana Cahlíková; Julie Chytilová; Gérard Roland; TomᚠŽelinskı
  7. "Intergenerational Assimilation of Minorities: The Role of the Majority Group" By Ryo Itoh; Yasuhiro Sato; Yves Zenou

  1. By: Pablo Garcés (Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador)
    Abstract: Behavioral economics offers an account of actual human behavior. Contrasting with the conventional normative approach to rationality, rational choice theory, describes the deviations from optimal decision making. These are attributed to failures in two systems, one in charge of automatic behavior (System 1) and the other responsible for reflective one (System 2). As important as this is, an elaboration of the interaction between them seems to be lacking. Philosophical pragmatism can contribute to address this want. It provides an evolutionary explanation of how people act accounting for the continuity of behavior including habitual and reflective action. The former is captured by habits and the latter directed towards objects. Additionally, it proposes a dialogical self, consisting of an interaction between the 'I', denoting impulse, and the 'me', referring to reflective action. As such, pragmatism can provide fertile ground on which to cultivate behavioral insights.
    Keywords: behavioral economics,pragmatism,rationality,agency,transaction
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Omang O. Messono (University of Douala, Douala, Cameroon); Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé, Cameroon)
    Abstract: This study examines the effects of the historical prevalence of infectious diseases on contemporary entrepreneurship. Previous studies reveal the persistence of the effects of historical diseases on innovation, through the channel of culture. Drawing on the epidemiological origin of institutions, we propose a framework which argues that the impact of infectious disease prevalence on contemporary entrepreneurship is mediated by property rights. The central hypothesis posits that a guarantee of property rights reduces the effect of past diseases on entrepreneurship. Using data from 125 countries, we find strong and robust evidence on the proposed hypothesis and other results. Property rights are higher in countries where the prevalence of diseases was low, which leads to good entrepreneurship scores. In contrast, countries with high disease prevalence did not have time to develop strong institutions to secure property rights. This explains their low level of entrepreneurship today. These results are robust to alternative methods and measures of property rights. Furthermore, our results also confirm the level of development, culture and the digitalization of economies as transmission channels between past diseases and the current level of entrepreneurship.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship; institutions; diseases; property rights
    JEL: I0 J24 I21 I31
    Date: 2021–09
  3. By: Lata Gangadharan (Monash University); Philip J. Grossman (Monash University); Nina Xue (Monash University)
    Abstract: We propose a new means of identifying self-image concerns by eliciting beliefs, and design a giving experiment to compare different incentive mechanisms in the presence of a self-signalling motive to distort beliefs. Self-image biases are pronounced for non-donors both when beliefs are not incentivised and with a simple incentive. A variation of the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak (BDM) procedure appears to "debias" beliefs. We introduce a novel procedure to measure the strength of altruism and find that individuals with weaker altruistic motives are more prone to motivated beliefs. We report a correlation between revealed preferences and beliefs that is independent of elicitation timing.
    Keywords: self-image, motivated beliefs, incentive mechanisms, altruism, experiment
    JEL: C90 D90 H40
    Date: 2021–12
  4. 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 ï¬ nd 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: 2021–06
  5. By: Siwan Anderson (University of British Columbia); Chris Bidner (Simon Fraser University)
    Abstract: An institutional perspective emphasizes the fact that behaviour is shaped by rules that humans superimpose on their economic environment. In the context of the family, such rules govern vital processes such as family formation, dissolution, and inter-generational property transmission. Here we outline such a perspective, showing that it has important implications for policy and represents a relatively under-explored area of research in the economics of the family. We first document the extensive and systematic variation in family rules that exists both contemporaneously and historically. We then show that understanding this variation is important, yet under-appreciated, by drawing together a broad range of research that studies the far reaching consequences of family rules. We proceed with a structured review of existing research that attempts to understand the origins of various family rules. The institutional perspective makes clear that much impor- tant and exciting work remains to be done in terms of understanding the origin of the rules that govern family-related behaviour.
    Date: 2021–11
  6. By: Michal Bauer; Jana Cahlíková; Julie Chytilová; Gérard Roland; TomᚠŽelinskı
    Abstract: This paper provides experimental evidence showing that members of a majority group systematically shift punishment on innocent members of an ethnic minority. We develop a new incentivized task, the Punishing the Scapegoat Game, to measure how injustice affecting a member of one’s own group shapes punishment of an unrelated bystander (“a scapegoat†). We manipulate the ethnic identity of the scapegoats and study interactions between the majority group and the Roma minority in Slovakia. We find that when no harm is done, there is no evidence of discrimination against the ethnic minority. In contrast, when a member of one’s own group is harmed, the punishment †passed†on innocent individuals more than doubles when they are from the minority, as compared to when they are from the dominant group. These results illuminate how individualized tensions can be transformed into a group conflict, dragging minorities into conflicts in a way that is completely unrelated to their behavior.
    Keywords: punishment, minority groups, inter-group conflict, discrimination, scapegoating, lab-in-field experiments
    JEL: C93 D74 D91 J15
    Date: 2021–07
  7. By: Ryo Itoh (Graduate School of Information Sciences, Tohoku University); Yasuhiro Sato (Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo); Yves Zenou (Department of Economics, Monash University)
    Abstract: We develop a dynamic model of assimilation of ethnic minorities that posits a tradeoff between higher productivity and wages and greater social distance to the culture of origin. We also highlight the importance of the assimilation of the past generation and the role of the majority group in the assimilation of ethnic minorities. First, there is an inverted U−shaped relationship between the degree of tolerance of the majority individuals and the average level of assimilation in the society. Second, more tolerance from the majority group generates positive externalities for the minority group, while each minority’s individual assimilation effort affects the welfare of the majority individuals differently depending on the initial minority assimilation level. Finally, the more the majority individuals are tolerant toward the minority group, the more the minority individuals will assimilate to the majority group, while the reverse is not always true. In fact, when there is too much assimilation, the majority group may reduce its degree of tolerance toward the majority group.
    Date: 2021–12

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