nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2022‒06‒20
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Historical prevalence of infectious diseases and gender equality in 122 countries By Omang Ombolo Messono; Simplice A. Asongu; Vanessa S. Tchamyou
  2. Disentangling material, social, and cognitive determinants of human behavior and beliefs By Tverskoi, Denis; Guido, Andrea; Andrighetto, Giulia; Sánchez, Angel; Gavrilets, Sergey
  3. The evolution of early hominin food production and sharing By Alger, Ingela; Dridi, Slimane; Stieglitz, Jonathan; Wilson, Michael
  4. Don't Cross the Line: Bounding the Causal Effect of Hypergamy Violation on Domestic Violence in India By Roychowdhury, Punarjit; Dhamija, Gaurav

  1. By: Omang Ombolo Messono (University of Douala, Douala, Cameroon); Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé, Cameroon); Vanessa S. Tchamyou (Yaoundé, Cameroon)
    Abstract: This study examines the effects of the historical prevalence of infectious diseases on contemporary gender equality. Previous studies reveal the persistence of the effects of historical diseases on innovation, through the channel of culture. Drawing on the Parasite-Stress Theory, we propose a framework which argues that historical prevalence of infectious disease reduces contemporary gender equality. Using Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) and Two Stage Least Squares (2SLS) in a cross-section with data from 122 countries between 2000 and 2021, we provide support for the underlying hypothesis. Past diseases reduce gender equality both directly and indirectly. The strongest indirect effects occur through innovation output. Gender equality analysis may take these findings into account and incorporate disease pathogens into the design of international social policy.
    Keywords: infectious diseases; gender equality; economic development
    JEL: B15 B40 B54 I31 J24
    Date: 2022–01
  2. By: Tverskoi, Denis; Guido, Andrea (Institute for Futures Studies); Andrighetto, Giulia; Sánchez, Angel; Gavrilets, Sergey
    Abstract: In social interactions, human decision-making, attitudes, and beliefs about others coevolve. Their dynamics are affected by cost-benefit considerations, cognitive processes (such as cognitive dissonance, social projecting, and logic constraints), and social influences by peers (via descriptive and injunctive social norms) and by authorities (e.g., educational, cultural, religious, political, administrative, individual or group, real or fictitious). Here we attempt to disentangle some of this complexity by using an integrative mathematical modeling and a 35-day online behavioral experiment. We utilize data from a Common Pool Resources experiment with or without messaging promoting a group-beneficial level of resource extraction. We first show that our model provides a better fit than a wide variety of alternative models. Then we directly estimate the weights of different factors in decision-making and beliefs dynamics. We show that material payoffs accounted only for about 20\% of decision-making. The remaining 80\% was due to different cognitive and social forces which we evaluated quantitatively. Without messaging, personal norms (and cognitive dissonance) have the largest weight in decision-making. Messaging greatly influences personal norms and normative expectations. Between-individual variation is present in all measured characteristics and notably impacts observed group behavior. At the same time, gender differences are not significant. We argue that one can hardly understand social behavior without understanding the dynamics of personal beliefs and beliefs about others and that cognitive, social, and material factors all play important roles in these processes. Our results have implications for understanding and predicting social processes triggered by certain shocks (e.g., social unrest, a pandemic, or a natural disaster) and for designing policy interventions aiming to change behavior (e.g. actions aimed at environment protection or climate change mitigation).
    Date: 2022–05–05
  3. By: Alger, Ingela; Dridi, Slimane; Stieglitz, Jonathan; Wilson, Michael
    Abstract: How did humans evolve from individualistic foraging to collective foraging with sex differences in food production and widespread sharing of plant and animal foods? While current models of food sharing focus on meat or cooking, considerations of the economics of foraging for extracted plant foods (e.g., roots, tubers), inferred to be important for earlier hominins (∼ 6–2.5 mya), suggest that hominins shared such foods. Here we present a conceptual and mathematical model of early hominin food production and sharing, prior to the emergence of frequent scavenging, hunting and cooking. We hypothesize that extracted plant foods were vulnerable to theft, and that male mate-guarding protected females from food theft. We identify conditions favoring plant food production and sharing across mating systems (i.e., monogamy, polygyny, promiscuity), and we assess which mating system maximizes female fitness with changes in the energetic profitability of extractive foraging. Females extract foods and share them with males only when: i) extracting rather than collecting plant foods pays off energetically; and ii) males guard females.
    Date: 2022–05–23
  4. By: Roychowdhury, Punarjit; Dhamija, Gaurav
    Abstract: We empirically examine whether violation of hypergamy - which occurs when the wife's economic status equals or exceeds that of her husband's - causally affects domestic violence using microdata from India. Identifying the causal effect of hypergamy violation on domestic violence, however, is challenging due to unmeasured confounding and reverse causality. To overcome these difficulties, we utilize a nonparametric bounds approach. Relying on fairly weak assumptions, we find strong evidence that violation of hypergamy leads to a significant increase in domestic violence. Further, we provide suggestive evidence that this result arises because violation of hypergamy is likely to undermine patriarchal beliefs and norms about gender roles, and also because it is likely to increase men's likelihood of using domestic violence as an instrument. Our findings suggest that policies that seek to empower women and promote gender equality might paradoxically increase women's exposure to domestic violence.
    Keywords: Domestic Violence,Hypergamy,India,Partial Identification,Women
    JEL: J12 J16 O12 O15
    Date: 2022

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