nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2022‒06‒27
eight 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. Millet, Rice, and Isolation: Origins and Persistence of the World's Most Enduring Mega-State By James Kai-sing Kung; Ömer Özak; Louis Putterman; Shuang Shi
  3. Asymptotically stable matchings and evolutionary dynamics of preference revelation games in marriage problems By Hidemasa Ishii; Nariaki Nishino
  4. Group reciprocity and the evolution of stereotyping By Alexander J. Stewart; Nichola Raihani
  5. Tubers and its Role in Historic Political Fragmentation in Africa By Obikili, Nonso
  6. Redefining Biological Fitness and Competitiveness for the Humans By GANIO-MEGO, Joe
  7. Beliefs about gender differences in social preferences By Christine L. Exley; Oliver P. Hauser; Molly Moore; John-Henry Pezzuto
  8. A stranger in a strange land: Promises and identity By Gary Charness; Giovanni Di Bartolomeo; Stefano Papa

  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: James Kai-sing Kung (The University of Hong Kong); Ömer Özak (Southern Methodist University); Louis Putterman (Brown University); Shuang Shi (The University of Hong Kong)
    Abstract: We propose and test empirically a theory describing the endogenous formation and persistence of mega-states, using China as an example. We suggest that the relative timing of the emergence of agricultural societies, and their distance from each other, set off a race between their autochthonous state-building projects, which determines their extent and persistence. Using a novel dataset describing the historical presence of Chinese states, prehistoric development, the diffusion of agriculture, and migratory distance across 1-degree x 1-degree grid cells in eastern Asia, we find that cells that adopted agriculture earlier and were close to Erlitou -- the earliest political center in eastern Asia -- remained under Chinese control for longer and continue to be a part of China today. By contrast, cells that adopted agriculture early and were located further from Erlitou developed into independent states, as agriculture provided the fertile ground for state-formation, while isolation provided time for them to develop and confront the expanding Chinese empire. Our study sheds important light on why eastern Asia kept reproducing a mega-state in the area that became China and on the determinants of its borders with other states.
    Keywords: Comparative Development, State-Building, Emergence of States, Agricultural Adoption, Isolation, Neolithic Revolution, Social Complexity, East Asia, China, Erlitou
    JEL: F50 F59 H70 H79 N90 O10 R10 Z10 Z13
    Date: 2020–12
  3. By: Hidemasa Ishii; Nariaki Nishino
    Abstract: The literature on centralized matching markets often assumes that a true preference of each player is known to herself and fixed, but empirical evidence casts doubt on its plausibility. To circumvent the problem, we consider evolutionary dynamics of preference revelation games in marriage problems. We formulate the asymptotic stability of a matching, indicating the dynamical robustness against sufficiently small changes in players' preference reporting strategies, and show that asymptotically stable matchings are stable when they exist. The simulation results of replicator dynamics are presented to demonstrate the asymptotic stability. We contribute a practical insight for market designers that a stable matching may be realized by introducing a learning period in which participants find appropriate reporting strategies through trial and error. We also open doors to a novel area of research by demonstrating ways to employ evolutionary game theory in studies on centralized markets.
    Date: 2022–05
  4. By: Alexander J. Stewart; Nichola Raihani
    Abstract: Stereotypes are generalized beliefs about groups of people, which are used to make decisions and judgments about them. Although such heuristics can be useful when decisions must be made quickly, or when information is lacking, they can also serve as the basis for prejudice and discrimination. In this paper we study the evolution of stereotypes through group reciprocity. We characterize the warmth of a stereotype as the willingness to cooperate with an individual based solely on the identity of the group they belong to. We show that when stereotypes are coarse, such group reciprocity is less likely to evolve, and stereotypes tend to be negative. We also show that, even when stereotypes are broadly positive, individuals are often overly pessimistic about the willingness of those they stereotype to cooperate. We then show that the tendency for stereotyping itself to evolve is driven by the costs of cognition, so that more people are stereotyped with greater coarseness as costs increase. Finally we show that extrinsic "shocks", in which the benefits of cooperation are suddenly reduced, can cause stereotype warmth and judgement bias to turn sharply negative, consistent with the view that economic and other crises are drivers of out-group animosity.
    Date: 2022–05
  5. By: Obikili, Nonso
    Abstract: This paper examines the link between historical political fragmentation and surplus agricultural production, and the impact of natural endowments with regards to crop suitability. I show that in sub-Saharan Africa, groups that cultivated tubers, specifically yams, were more likely to have higher levels of local political fragmentation. I show that both tubers and most cereals were positively correlated with historic population density and that there was no historic discrimination in the capacity of crops to produce surpluses and support large populations. I however show that unlike cereal cultivators who were more likely to be centralized, tuber cultivators were likely to have more local political fragmentation. I use crop suitability and the proximity to the area of the domestication of yams to show that cultivating yams did lead to more local political fragmentation. I argue that this is likely due to the biological properties of yams which make them more difficult to expropriate and implies that surpluses stay local. I argue that the experience of keeping surpluses local is associated with contemporary social norms that are against autocracy and unitary accumulation of power. These social norms are an example of the mechanism through which these historical institutional structures transmit to contemporary times.
    Keywords: Political Fragmentation; Agriculture; Social Norms; Africa
    JEL: D72 N47 N57 O10
    Date: 2022
  6. By: GANIO-MEGO, Joe
    Abstract: The usual definition of biological fitness is not enough for a hybrid species that aggregates material on top of the usual molecular aggregation. Humans are a hybrid species. Humans vary both the parameter population and the parameter Technological Level. Hence, defining the biological fitness by the rate of population change is not enough. It is possible to define the parameter “Competitiveness” based on the Technological Level and Population parameters. The rate of change of competitiveness will be the new definition of biological fitness. By moving along the humanity functional response line, one can observe that the factor population will contribute less and less to the parameter competitiveness, and the factor technology level will gain importance.
    Date: 2022–05–26
  7. By: Christine L. Exley (Harvard Business School, Harvard University); Oliver P. Hauser (Department of Economics, University of Exeter); Molly Moore (Harward Kennedy School, Harvard University); John-Henry Pezzuto (Harvard Business School, Harvard University)
    Abstract: While there is a vast (and mixed) literature on gender differences in social preferences, little is known about believed gender differences in social preferences. This paper documents robust evidence for believed gender differences in social preferences. Across a wide range of contexts that vary in terms of strategic considerations, selfish motives, fairness concepts and applications, we find that individuals robustly expect that women are more generous and more equality-oriented. Despite the robustness of these beliefs, the believed gender gap in social preferences - in the range of contexts we consider - is largely inaccurate.
    Keywords: experiments, gender, altruism
    JEL: C91 D64 D91
    Date: 2022–06–02
  8. By: Gary Charness; Giovanni Di Bartolomeo; Stefano Papa
    Abstract: Social identity and communication are topics of increasing interest in management science. One's social identity tends to lead one to favor those belonging to one's group; this in-group bias may lead to problematic relationships. At the same time, communication has been found to have beneficial social consequences in controlled laboratory experiments. An important question is whether communication, by signaling a meeting of the minds, can improve trust and therefore outcomes between out-group members. We construct a simple weak mechanism of group favoritism that does in fact show in-group favoritism. When both paired individuals, one of whom will become the dictator, promise to make the pro-social dictator choice if they become dictator, favorable behavior is much more likely in all cases. But there is an intriguing pattern across group membership concerning the degree of improvement: Without mutual promises, people make more favorable choices for in-group members. Interestingly, this gap is eliminated by such promises. In this sense, strangers become partners.
    Keywords: Social identity; In-group bias; Communication; Exogenous variation
    JEL: A13 C91 D03 D64 D90
    Date: 2022–06

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