nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2022‒05‒02
seven papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The Determinants of Population Self-Control By Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.; Dahmann, Sarah C.; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
  2. Game Dynamics Structure Control by Design: an Example from Experimental Economics By Wang Zhijian
  3. Entropy, directionality theory and the evolution of income inequality By Fabrizio Germano
  4. Ethnicity and cultural dynamics By Bunce, John A; McElreath, Richard
  5. Endogenous interdependent preferences in a dynamical contest model By Fausto Cavalli; Mario Gilli; Ahmad Naimzada
  6. Colonial Origins and Fertility: Can the Market Overcome History? By David Canning; Marie Christelle Mabeu; Roland Pongou
  7. The Economics and Econometrics of Gene-Environment Interplay By Pietro Biroli; Titus J. Galama; Stephanie von Hinke; Hans van Kippersluis; Cornelius A. Rietveld; Kevin Thom

  1. By: Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. (University of Sydney); Dahmann, Sarah C. (University of Melbourne); Kamhöfer, Daniel A. (Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE)); Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
    Abstract: This paper demonstrates that structural factors can shape people's self-control. We study the determinants of adult self-control using population-representative data and exploiting two sources of quasi-experimental variationْ¢â‚¬â€œGermany's division and compulsory schooling reforms. We find that former East Germans have substantially higher levels of self-control than West Germans and provide evidence for suppression as a possible underlying mechanism. An increase in compulsory schooling had no causal effect on self-control. Moreover, we find that self-control increases linearly with age. In contrast to previous findings for children, there is no gender gap in adult self-control and family background does not predict self-control.
    Keywords: compulsory schooling reforms, quasi-experiments, German division, determinants of self-control, Brief Self-Control Scale, population-representative evidence
    JEL: D90 C26
    Date: 2022–03
  2. By: Wang Zhijian
    Abstract: Game dynamics structure (e.g., endogenous cycle motion) in human subjects game experiments can be predicted by game dynamics theory. However, whether the structure can be controlled by mechanism design to a desired goal is not known. Here, using the pole assignment approach in modern control theory, we demonstrate how to control the structure in two steps: (1) Illustrate an theoretical workflow on how to design a state-depended feedback controller for desired structure; (2) Evaluate the controller by laboratory human subject game experiments and by agent-based evolutionary dynamics simulation. To our knowledge, this is the first realisation of the control of the human social game dynamics structure in theory and experiment.
    Date: 2022–03
  3. By: Fabrizio Germano
    Abstract: A macro-evolutionary theory of income inequality is proposed that is based on a society's dynamic income generating process. Two types of processes are distinguished, namely dispersing and concentrating ones. A basic result shows that dispersing processes provide a selective advantage for more balanced and mutualistic interaction; whereas concentrating ones favor weaker, less balanced and less mutualistic interaction. We also show that societies with more balanced and mutualistic interaction induce more income equality and a non-stratified society, while less balanced and less mutualistic ones induce more inequality and a possibly stratified society. Also, more equal societies are more resilient in the sense of being quicker to recover from shocks and return to steady state than less equal ones. Stylized examples of pre-modern and modern societies are briefly discussed.
    Keywords: income generating process, interaction network, entropy, cooperation, mutualism, income, inequality, fragility, pre-modern society
    JEL: C73 D31 Z13
    Date: 2022–04
  4. By: Bunce, John A; McElreath, Richard
    Abstract: Much cultural variation in humans is structured by ethnic identity, which entails perceptions of covariance between easily observable markers, difficult-to-observe norms, and, often, (potentially mythical) ancestry. The dynamics of ethnic identity entail changes in the distributions of these perceptions in a population over time. Here, we review the scope of ethnicity, the adaptive nature of ethnic psychology, the dynamics of ethnic perceptions, the consequences of ethnicity for other cultural dynamics, and challenges for future research.
    Date: 2022–04–06
  5. By: Fausto Cavalli; Mario Gilli; Ahmad Naimzada
    Abstract: Outcomes observed in laboratory experiments on contests are often not consistent with the results expected by theoretical models, with phenomena that frequently occur like overbidding or persisting oscillations in strategic choices. Several explanations have been suggested to understand such phenomena, dealing primarily with equilibrium analysis. We propose a dynamical model based on the coevolution of strategic choices and agent preferences. Each agent can have non self-interested preferences, which influence strategic choices and in turn evolve according to them. We show that multiple coexisting steady states characterized by non self-interested preferences can exist, and they lose stability as the prize increases, leading to endogenous oscillating dynamics. Finally, with an emphasis on two specific kinds of agents, we explain how overbidding can emerge. The numerical results show a good qualitative agreement with the experimental data.
    Keywords: Contest models, Endogenous interdependent preferences, Coevolution of strategies and preferences, Multistability, Non convergent dynamics
    Date: 2022–03
  6. By: David Canning; Marie Christelle Mabeu; Roland Pongou
    Abstract: Can market incentives overcome the long-term impact of historical institutions? We address this question by focusing on the role of colonial reproductive policies in shaping fertility behavior in Africa. Exploiting the arbitrary division of ancestral ethnic homelands and the resulting discontinuity in institutions across the British-French colonial borders, we find that women in former British areas are more likely to delay sexual debut and marriage, and have fewer children. However, these effects disappear in areas with high market access, where the opportunity cost of childbearing appears to be high irrespective of colonizer identity. This heterogeneous impact of colonial origins is robust across different measures of access to international and domestic markets. Examining causal mechanisms, we collect archival data on colonial reproductive laws and policies to conduct an event-study analysis. We find that the effect of colonial origins on fertility is entirely driven by differences in the timing of colonial population policies and their lasting impact on the use of modern methods of birth control. We find little evidence that the fertility effect of British colonization operates through education or income. While British colonization is linked to higher female education, this occurs mainly in areas with higher market access while the fertility effects do not. Again, while income levels differ, the fertility gap between British and French colonies opened prior to 1980, whereas the income gap only opened after 1990. Our analysis highlights the heterogeneous nature of the colonial origins of comparative fertility behavior, and implies that economic incentives may overcome historical determinism.
    Keywords: Fertility, Colonial Origins, Colonial Reproductive Laws and Policies, Market Access, Historical Determinism, Africa.
    Date: 2022
  7. By: Pietro Biroli; Titus J. Galama; Stephanie von Hinke; Hans van Kippersluis; Cornelius A. Rietveld; Kevin Thom
    Abstract: Economists and social scientists have debated the relative importance of nature (one's genes) and nurture (one's environment) for decades, if not centuries. This debate can now be informed by the ready availability of genetic data in a growing number of social science datasets. This paper explores the potential uses of genetic data in economics, with a focus on estimating the interplay between nature (genes) and nurture (environment). We discuss how economists can benefit from incorporating genetic data into their analyses even when they do not have a direct interest in estimating genetic effects. We argue that gene--environment (GxE) studies can be instrumental for (i) testing economic theory, (ii) uncovering economic or behavioral mechanisms, and (iii) analyzing treatment effect heterogeneity, thereby improving the understanding of how (policy) interventions affect population subgroups. We introduce the reader to essential genetic terminology, develop a conceptual economic model to interpret gene-environment interplay, and provide practical guidance to empirical researchers.
    Date: 2022–03

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