nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2022‒12‒12
five papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Left-Handedness and Economic Development By Fabio Mariani; Marion Mercier; Luca Pensieroso
  2. It Makes a Village: Allomaternal Care and Prosociality By Alessandra Cassar; Alejandrina Cristia; Pauline Grosjean; Sarah Walker
  3. The Golden City on the Edge: Economic Geography and Jihad over Centuries By Masahiro Kubo; Shunsuke Tsuda
  4. The Dynamic Interactions of Hate, Violence and Economic Well-Being By Appelbaum, Elie
  5. The her in inheritance: how marriage matching has always mattered, Quebec 1800-1970 By Matthew Curtis

  1. By: Fabio Mariani (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES)); Marion Mercier (LEDa-DIAL, Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL, IRD, CNRS, Paris, France; IZA, Bonn.); Luca Pensieroso (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))
    Abstract: This paper studies the interplay between left-handedness and economic development, thereby contributing to our understanding of the relationship between evolutionary forces, human diversity and growth. We propose a novel theoretical framework in which economic development influences the prevalence of left-handedness through structural change and a genetic mechanism driven by differential fertility. In particular, the emergence of the industrial sector puts left-handers at a reproductive disadvantage, because of their lower manual ability and wages. This fertility differential changes sign as soon as the income-fertility relationship is reversed, and eventually fades away when the rise of human capital makes manual skills irrelevant. Our model thus explains the decline and subsequent recovery of lefthandedness observed over the last few centuries in the Western world. We further explore the possibility that left-handedness in turn influences growth: despite their lower productivity in manual tasks, left-handers may enhance technological progress through cognitive skills that are conducive to innovation, and through their contribution to the diversity of the workforce. This implies that the link between handedness and economic performance varies across stages of development. We present empirical evidence that lends credence to the core differential-fertility mechanism of our model and suggests that left-handedness can positively contribute to growth, once the economy has reached a sufficiently high level of human capital.
    Keywords: Handedness; Economic growth; Evolution; Diversity; Unified Growth Theory
    JEL: O11 O14 O33 O40 J13 J24 Q57
    Date: 2022–11–11
  2. By: Alessandra Cassar (University of San Francisco, Chapman University and CEGA); Alejandrina Cristia (Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, ENS, EHESS, CNRS, PSL University); Pauline Grosjean (Department of Economics, UNSW and CEPR); Sarah Walker (Department of Economics, UNSW)
    Abstract: A recent hypothesis suggests that an impetus for human cooperation could have emerged from the needs of mothers to elicit and sustain help from others, i.e. allomaternal care, for the purpose of bringing offspring to maturity. We design a novel economic experiment to elucidate the relationship between allomaternal care and cooperative behavior among a random sample of 820 adults and 200 children in the Solomon Islands. Our results show that allomaternal care, especially by non-kin, nurtures adult reciprocity and altruism, and impersonal prosociality among mothers. We also document socio-cognitive benefits to children from child care by non-kin, based on daylong vocalizations analyzed using a multilingually-trained neural network. Further analysis utilizing cross-cultural ethnographic data shows a positive relationship between allomaternal care and societal orientation toward trust. Altogether, our findings suggest an important role for allomaternal care - especially by non-kin - in supporting societal cooperation. Classification JEL: I15, O15, Z13
    Keywords: Allomaternal care, Altruism, Child vocalizations, Dictator game, Reciprocity
    Date: 2022–11
  3. By: Masahiro Kubo; Shunsuke Tsuda
    Abstract: This paper uncovers the evolution of cities and Islamist insurgencies, so called jihad, in the process of the reversal of fortune over the centuries. In West Africa, water access in ancient periods predicts the locations of the core cities of inland trade routes -- the trans-Saharan caravan routes -- founded up to the 1800s, when historical Islamic states played significant economic roles before European colonization. In contrast, ancient water access does not have a persistent influence on contemporary city formation and economic activities. After European colonization and the invention of modern trading technologies, along with the constant shrinking of water sources, landlocked pre-colonial core cities contracted or became extinct. Employing an instrumental variable strategy, we show that these deserted locations have today been replaced by battlefields for jihadist organizations. We argue that the power relations between Islamic states and the European military during the 19th century colonial era shaped the persistence of jihadist ideology as a legacy of colonization. Investigations into religious ideology related to jihadism, using individual-level surveys from Muslims, support this mechanism. Moreover, the concentration of jihadist violence in "past-core-and-present-periphery" areas in West Africa is consistent with a global-scale phenomenon. Finally, spillovers of violent events beyond these stylized locations are partly explained by organizational heterogeneity among competing factions (Al Qaeda and the Islamic State) over time.
    Date: 2022–11
  4. By: Appelbaum, Elie
    Abstract: This paper provides a simple dynamic model that explores the interdependence and dynamic properties of hate, violence and economic well-being. It shows that a time-dependent economic growth process that affects the evolution of hate can yield a long-run steady state, but this steady state will not be free of hate and violence. Moreover, we show that better (long-run) economic conditions do not necessarily result in lower equilibrium levels of hate and violence. We also show that, under reasonable conditions, cycles of hate and violence cannot occur. Thus, the dynamic properties of hate and violence themselves cannot result in cyclical patterns of (net) economic well-being. While stable and unstable equilibria are possible, the most likely equilibrium is a saddle point. We provide several numerical examples demonstrating the implications of psychological attributes such as congruence (reciprocity), long memory and jealousy on the nature of the steady state and stability of the equilibria. These examples also consider the role of responsiveness to economic conditions, externalities and susceptibility to violence. Given its nature, the paper is an example of a formal model for the ideas of the "dynamical system" literature in psychology.
    Keywords: Hate, Violence; Dynamics; Steady State; Stability; Genuine Peace.
    JEL: Z10 Z13
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Matthew Curtis
    Abstract: When did marriage become strongly assortative? Is it a recent development, aconsequence of increased female employment and a cause of rising inequality? A longrun perspective is necessary to answer this question. This paper uses a uniquely suitabledatabase from Quebec 1800{1970 to provide such a perspective. First, it develops anovel method which reveals that marriage was highly assortative as far back as the earlynineteenth century. Next, it shows this matching depended on the individual humancapital of women, not just on family backgrounds. Finally, it shows that mothers hada causal impact on child outcomes independently from fathers. Thus, despite deeplyconservative gender norms, marriage matching
    Keywords: Assortative mating; marriage matching; sorting; human captial; intergenerational mobility
    JEL: J12 J62 N31 N32
    Date: 2022–11

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