nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2022‒07‒25
eight papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Looming Large or Seeming Small? Attitudes Towards Losses in a Representative Sample By Jonathan Chapman; Erik Snowberg; Stephanie Wang; Colin Camerer
  2. Rationality, preference satisfaction and anomalous intentions: why rational choice theory is not self-defeating By Fumagalli, Roberto
  3. The evolution of early hominin food production and sharing By Ingela Alger; Slimane Dridi; Jonathan Stieglitz; Michael Wilson
  4. Historical prevalence of infectious diseases and sustainable development in 122 countries By Messono O. Omang; Simplice A. Asongu; Vanessa S. Tchamyou
  5. Biophilic Markets By Beinhocker, Eric
  6. Universalism: Global Evidence By Alexander W. Cappelen; Benjamin Enke; Bertil Tungodden
  7. Collective strategy condensation towards class-separated societies By Claudius Gros
  8. Agent-Based Modeling in Economics and Finance: Past, Present, and Future By Farmer, J. Doyne; Axtell, Robert L.

  1. By: Jonathan Chapman; Erik Snowberg; Stephanie Wang; Colin Camerer
    Abstract: We measure individual-level loss aversion using three incentivized, representative surveys of the U.S. population (combined N = 3,000). We find that around 50% of the U.S. population is loss tolerant, with many participants accepting negative-expected-value gambles. This is counter to earlier findings−which mostly come from lab/student samples−and expert predictions that 70-90% of participants are loss averse. Consistent with the difference between our study and the prior literature, loss aversion is more prevalent in people with high cognitive ability. Loss-tolerant individuals are more likely to report recent gambling and to have experienced financial shocks. These results support the general hypothesis that individuals value gains and losses differently, although the tendency in a large proportion of the population to emphasize gains over losses is an overlooked behavioral phenomenon.
    Keywords: loss aversion, DOSE, risk preferences, cognitive ability, negative shocks, gambling
    JEL: C81 C90 D03 D81 D90
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Fumagalli, Roberto
    Abstract: The critics of rational choice theory (henceforth, RCT) frequently claim that RCT is self-defeating in the sense that agents who abide by RCT’s prescriptions are less successful in satisfying their preferences than they would be if they abided by some normative theory of choice other than RCT. In this paper, I combine insights from philosophy of action, philosophy of mind and the normative foundations of RCT to rebut this often-made criticism. I then explicate the implications of my thesis for the wider philosophical debate concerning the normativity of RCT for both ideal agents who can form and revise their intentions instantly without cognitive costs and real-life agents who have limited control over the formation and the dynamics of their own intentions.
    Keywords: decision-making; intentions; normativity; preference satisfaction; rationality
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2021–10–01
  3. By: Ingela Alger (TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, IAST - Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse , CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées); Slimane Dridi (UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées); Jonathan Stieglitz (UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées, IAST - Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse); Michael Wilson (University of Minnesota [Crookston] - University of Minnesota System)
    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. Males extract foods whenever these are sufficiently high in value, but share with females only under promiscuous mating and/or no mate guarding. These results suggest that if early hominins had mating systems with pair-bonds (monogamous or polygynous), sharing of extracted plant foods by females occurred long before scavenging, hunting and cooking. Such cooperation may have enabled early hominins to expand into more open, seasonal habitats, and provided a foundation for the subsequent evolution of unique human life histories.
    Keywords: Evolution,Food production,Sharing,Mating systems
    Date: 2022–05–24
  4. By: Messono O. Omang (University of Douala, Douala, Cameroon); Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé, Cameroon); Vanessa S. Tchamyou (Yaoundé, Cameroon)
    Abstract: This study investigates the effects of historical prevalence of infectious diseases on contemporary sustainable development. Previous studies reveal numerous proximate causes of sustainable development, but little is known about the fundamental determinants of this widespread economic concern. The novelty of this paper lies in the adoption of a historical approach that sheds light on the deep historical roots of cross-country differences in sustainable development. The central hypothesis is that historical pathogens exert persistent impacts on present-day sustainable development. Using Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) and Two Stage Least Squares (2SLS) in cross-section with data from 122 countries between 2000 and 2021, we provide support for the underlying hypothesis. Past diseases reduce sustainable development both directly and indirectly. The strongest indirect effects occur through property rights, innovation, globalization and government effectiveness. This result is robust to many sensitivity tests. Policy makers may take these findings into account and incorporate disease pathogens into the design of international sustainable development.
    Keywords: infectious diseases; sustainable development, economic development
    JEL: B15 B40 I31 J24 Q01
    Date: 2022–01
  5. By: Beinhocker, Eric
    Abstract: Markets must be made "biophilic" (i.e., compatible with life flourishing on Earth). To do so we must abandon prevailing notions of market efficiency and reconceive markets as social evolutionary systems embedded in nature. Such a re-conception enables us to see that constraining markets within biophysical boundaries does not result in zero-sum trade-offs with the economy, but instead would drive market evolution to new forms of prosperity.
    Date: 2022–06
  6. By: Alexander W. Cappelen; Benjamin Enke; Bertil Tungodden
    Abstract: This paper presents a new set of stylized facts about the global variation in universalism, leveraging hypothetical money allocation tasks deployed in representative samples of 64,000 people from 60 countries. Our data reveal large variation in universalism within and across countries, which almost entirely reflects heterogeneity in people’s moral views regarding how to treat different types of relationships. These moral views vary systematically with age, gender and religiosity. Universalism is strongly predictive of relevant outcomes such as civic engagement and left-wing economic and social policy views, in particular in the rich West. Across countries, universalism varies with the economic, political and religious organization of societies. We provide tentative evidence that experience with democracy makes people more universalist. Overall, our results show that moral universalism shapes and is shaped by politico-economic outcomes across the globe.
    Keywords: universalism, morality, culture
    Date: 2022
  7. By: Claudius Gros
    Abstract: In physics, the wavefunctions of bosonic particles collapse when the system undergoes a Bose-Einstein condensation. In game theory, the strategy of an agent describes the probability to engage in a certain course of action. Strategies are expected to differ in competitive situations, namely when there is a penalty to do the same as somebody else. We study what happens when agents are interested how they fare not only in absolute terms, but also relative to others. This preference, denoted envy, is shown to induce the emergence of distinct social classes via a collective strategy condensation transition. Members of the lower class pursue identical strategies, in analogy to the Bose-Einstein condensation, with the upper class remaining individualistic.
    Date: 2022–06
  8. By: Farmer, J. Doyne; Axtell, Robert L.
    Abstract: Agent-based modeling (ABM) is a novel computational methodology for representing the behavior of individuals in order to study social phenomena. Its use is rapidly growing in many fields. We review ABM in economics and finance and highlight how it can be used to relax conventional assumptions in standard economic models. In economics, ABM has enriched our understanding of markets, industrial organization, labor, macro, development, environmental and resource economics, as well as policy. In financial markets, substantial accomplishments include understanding clustered volatility, market impact, systemic risk and housing markets. We present a vision for how ABMs might be used in the future to build more realistic models of the economy and review some of hurdles that must be overcome to achieve this.
    Keywords: agent-based computational economics, multi-agent systems, agent-based modeling and simulation, distributed systems
    JEL: C00 C63 C69 D00 E00 G00
    Date: 2022–06

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