nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2022‒10‒31
seven papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Culture in Historical Political Economy By Sara Lowes
  2. Culture Clash: Incompatible Reputation Mechanisms and Intergroup Conflict By Vasiliki Fouka; Alain Schläpfer
  3. The Role of Cliometrics in History and Economics By Claude Diebolt; Michael Haupert
  4. Social support and network formation in a small-scale horticulturalist population By Simpson, Cohen R.
  5. Cliometrics and the Future of Economic History By Claude Diebolt; Michael Haupert
  6. Eliciting Moral Preferences: Theory and Experiment By Roland Bénabou; Armin Falk; Luca Henkel; Jean Tirole
  7. Strategic Behavior with Tight, Loose and Polarized Norms By Eugen Dimant; Michele Gelfand; Anna Hochleitner; Silvia Sonderegger

  1. By: Sara Lowes
    Abstract: Culture – the set of socially transmitted values and beliefs held by individuals – has important implications for a wide variety of economic outcomes. Both the causes and consequences of culture have been the subject of work in Historical Political Economy. I first outline several theories on the origins, evolution, and transmission of culture. I then discuss various strategies for measuring culture. Finally, I review recent research in HPE that explores the origins of variation in culture and the economic consequences of culture.
    JEL: N01 P0 P50 Z1
    Date: 2022–09
  2. By: Vasiliki Fouka; Alain Schläpfer
    Abstract: Under what conditions does intergroup contact lead to conflict? We provide a novel answer to this question by highlighting the role of reputation mechanisms in sustaining cooperation. Reputational concerns can deter defection in one-time interactions within a group, but the informational content of reputation can differ across groups. We consider two types of information. Punishment-based reputation (a "culture of honor") represents past sanctioning behavior of individuals, while a reputation based on image scoring captures past cooperative and uncooperative acts. While either type can successfully sustain cooperation within a group, we show theoretically that interactions of individuals from a punishment-based culture with those from a culture of image scoring can lead to widespread inter-group tensions. Mutual cooperation is a more likely outcome if both cultures use a similar reputation mechanism. We find empirical support for the model's predictions across phenomena related to the emergence of social tensions. Cross-cultural differences in the importance of retaliation predict patterns of host population discrimination against immigrants and variation in bilateral conflict across ethnic groups.
    JEL: P0 Z1
    Date: 2022–09
  3. By: Claude Diebolt (BETA - Bureau d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - UNISTRA - Université de Strasbourg - UL - Université de Lorraine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Michael Haupert
    Abstract: How did cliometrics in particular, and economic history in general, arrive at this crossroads, where it is at once considered to be a dying discipline and one that is spreading through the economics discipline as a whole? To understand the current status and future prospects of economic history, it is necessary to understand its past.
    Keywords: Cliometrics,Economic history,Robert Fogel,Douglass North,Economic growth,Econometrics,Interdisciplinary economic history,New economic history,Multidisciplinary,Methodology,Quantitative
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Simpson, Cohen R.
    Abstract: Evolutionary studies of cooperation in traditional human societies suggest that helping family and responding in kind when helped are the primary mechanisms for informally distributing resources vital to day-to-day survival (e.g., food, knowledge, money, childcare). However, these studies generally rely on forms of regression analysis that disregard complex interdependences between aid, resulting in the implicit assumption that kinship and reciprocity drive the emergence of entire networks of supportive social bonds. Here I evaluate this assumption using individual-oriented simulations of network formation (i.e., Stochastic Actor-Oriented Models). Specifically, I test standard predictions of cooperation derived from the evolutionary theories of kin selection and reciprocal altruism alongside well-established sociological predictions around the self-organisation of asymmetric relationships. Simulations are calibrated to exceptional public data on genetic relatedness and the provision of tangible aid amongst all 108 adult residents of a village of indigenous horticulturalists in Nicaragua (11,556 ordered dyads). Results indicate that relatedness and reciprocity are markedly less important to whom one helps compared to the supra-dyadic arrangement of the tangible aid network itself.
    Keywords: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (Grant Number: pf170158)
    JEL: C1
    Date: 2022–09–15
  5. By: Claude Diebolt (BETA - Bureau d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - AgroParisTech - UNISTRA - Université de Strasbourg - UL - Université de Lorraine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Michael Haupert (UW-La Crosse - University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)
    Abstract: We give an overview of the origins of the Cliometric revolution, its place within the larger economic history discipline, and what we see as the future of cliometrics and economic history, not as separate disciplines, but as complementary approaches to the study of economic growth in the long run.
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Roland Bénabou (Princeton University); Armin Falk (Institute on Behavior and Inequality (briq) and University of Bonn); Luca Henkel (University of Bonn); Jean Tirole (University of Toulouse Capitole)
    Abstract: We study the extent to which a person’s moral preferences can be inferred from their choices, and how behaviors that appear deontologically motivated should be interpreted. Comparing direct elicitation (DE) and multiple-price list (MPL) mechanisms, we characterize how image motives inflate the extent of prosocial behavior. The resulting signalling bias is shown to depend on the interaction between elicitation method and visibility level: it is greater under DE for low reputation concerns, and greater under MPL for high ones. We test the model’s predictions in an experiment with life-saving donations and find the key crossing effect predicted by the theory.
    Keywords: Moral behavior, deontology, utilitarianism, consequentialism, social image, self-image, norms, preference elicitation, multiple price list, experiments
    JEL: C91 D01 D62 D64 D78
    Date: 2022–05
  7. By: Eugen Dimant (University of Pennsylvania, USA; CESifo, Germany); Michele Gelfand (Stanford University, USA); Anna Hochleitner (University of Nottingham, U.K.); Silvia Sonderegger (University of Nottingham, U.K.)
    Abstract: Descriptive norms – the behavior of other individuals in one’s reference group – play a key role in shaping individual decisions. When characterizing the behavior of others, a standard approach in the literature is to focus on average behavior. In this paper, we argue both the-oretically and empirically that not only averages, but the shape of the whole distribution of behavior can play a crucial role in how people react to descriptive norms. Using a represen-tative sample of the U.S. population, we experimentally investigate how individuals react to strategic environments that are characterized by di˙erent distributions of behavior, focusing on the distinction between tight (i.e., characterized by low behavioral variance), loose (i.e., characterized by high behavioral variance), and polarized (i.e., characterized by u-shaped behavior) environments. We find that individuals indeed strongly respond to di˙erences in the variance and shape of the descriptive norm they are facing: loose norms generate greater behavioral variance and polarization generates polarized responses. In polarized environ-ments, most individuals prefer extreme actions that expose them to considerable strategic risk to intermediate actions that would minimize such risk. Importantly, we also find that, in polarized and loose environments, personal traits and values play a larger role in de-termining actual behavior. This provides important insights into how individuals navigate environments that contain strategic uncertainty.
    Keywords: Cooperation, Descriptive Norms, Variance, Peer Effects
    JEL: C91 D01
    Date: 2022–09

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