nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2022‒04‒25
five papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The Shadow of the Neolithic Revolution on Life Expectancy: A Double-Edged Sword By Franck, Raphael; Galor, Oded; Moav, Omer; Özak, Ömer
  2. Natural Selection and Neanderthal Extinction in a Malthusian Economy By Chu, Angus
  3. On the Dynamics of Human Behavior: The Past, Present, and Future of Culture, Conflict, and Cooperation By Nathan Nunn
  4. Экономическая координация как результат координирующего поведения агентов By Parinov, Sergey
  5. Forced Displacement in History: Some Recent Research By Becker, Sascha O.

  1. By: Franck, Raphael; Galor, Oded; Moav, Omer; Özak, Ömer (Southern Methodist University)
    Abstract: This research explores the persistent effect of the Neolithic Revolution on the evolution of life expectancy in the course of human history. It advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that the onset of the Neolithic Revolution and the associated rise in infectious diseases triggered a process of adaptation reducing mortality from infectious diseases while increasing the propensity for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Exploiting an exogenous source of variation in the timing of the Neolithic Revolution across French regions, the analysis establishes the presence of these conflicting forces - the beneficial effects on life expectancy before the second epidemiological transition and their adverse effects thereafter.
    Date: 2022–03–01
  2. By: Chu, Angus
    Abstract: This study develops a Malthusian model with natural selection of human species. We explore how population dynamics of one group of humans may cause the extinction of another group. In our model, different groups of humans engage in hunting-gathering. The larger group of humans can occupy more land. Therefore, in a Malthusian economy, the expansion of one population causes the other population to shrink. Whether it causes the other population to become extinct depends on a structural parameter that is the elasticity of the relative share of land with respect to the relative population size. If this elasticity is below unity, then both populations converge to their positive steady-state levels. However, if the elasticity is equal to unity, then the population that has a lower fertility cost, stronger fertility preference, higher hunting-gathering productivity and higher labor supply converges to a positive steady-state level whereas the other population eventually becomes extinct.
    Keywords: Neanderthals; early modern humans; hunting-gathering; natural selection
    JEL: O13 Q56
    Date: 2022–03
  3. By: Nathan Nunn
    Abstract: I provide a theoretically-guided discussion of the dynamics of human behavior, focusing on the importance of culture (socially-learned information) and tradition (transmission of culture across generations). Decision-making that relies on tradition can be an effective strategy and arises in equilibrium. While dynamically optimal, it generates static `mismatch.' When the world changes, since traits evolve slowly, they may not be beneficial in their new environment. I discuss how mismatch helps explain the world around us, presents special challenges and opportunities for policy, and provides important lessons for our future as a human species.
    JEL: B5 B52 N00 O10
    Date: 2022–02
  4. By: Parinov, Sergey
    Abstract: This study is based on the hypothesis that human's natural abilities to take into account the activities of other people manifest themselves as a coordinating behavior, which in the economy is realized in the form of a purposeful coordinating activity of human agents. The instrument of coordination, in this case, is the individual and collective mental models of the agents, which concept is being developed by the Cognitive Science. Coordinating activity is the fundamental process of coordination and is present in all coordinating economic systems. On this methodological basis, an approach is proposed that explains the content of coordination processes in the economy, and the formation of a hybrid structure from the forms of coordination. By creating coordination processes, agents seek to maximize the gain from their joint activities. As a result, a certain structure is formed in the economy from the main forms of coordination: contractual (network), hierarchical, stigmergy, and a form based on rules. The features of these main forms of coordination are considered, including the conditions for the emergence of hybrid forms. It has been established that the market coordination process is a symbiosis of the main forms of coordination working together as a complex hybrid. An analysis of the properties of the system of economic coordination processes showed that they critically depend on the nature of communications between the participants in joint activities and on their “computational capabilities”. The transfer of agent communications to the virtual environment of the information and communication technologies and the use of computers to increase the calculation capabilities of the agents for coordinating their activities can lead to a partial merger of the main forms of coordination, as well as to the creation of coordination processes without the use of a monetary and financial system. The social significance of research and development aimed at improving the processes of economic coordination is discussed as one of the most important current tasks of mankind. A possible research program is being considered to scientifically support this new mankind task.
    Keywords: coordinating behavior; economic coordinating activity; mental model; content of economic coordination; structure of coordination processes; properties of the coordination system; improvement of the coordination system; new mankind task; research program
    JEL: O1 O3 P0
    Date: 2022–03–01
  5. By: Becker, Sascha O. (Monash University)
    Abstract: Forced displacement as a consequence of wars, civil conflicts, or natural disasters does not only have contemporaneous consequences but also long-run repercussions. This eclectic overview summarizes some recent research on forced displacement in economic history. While many of the episodes covered refer to Europe, this survey points to literature across all continents. It highlights new developments, and points to gaps in the literature.
    Keywords: disasters, wars, forced displacement, networks
    JEL: F22 R23 D74 Q54 N30
    Date: 2022–02

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