nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2023‒03‒13
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The family as a cultural nexus By Raquel Fernández
  2. A Pure Theory of Population Distribution When Preferences Are Ordinal By Stark, Holger; Kosiorowski, Grzegorz
  3. Social preferences before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in China By King King Li; Ying-Yi Hong; Bo Huang; Tony Tam
  4. Witchcraft Beliefs and Subjective Well-Being By Boris Gershman

  1. By: Raquel Fernández
    Abstract: This review paper focuses on the literature that studies the interactions between the family and culture. It does not attempt to be comprehensive, but instead illustrates via some representative papers the interaction between the family, its cultural beliefs and practices, and economic outcomes. How shocks and policies affect an economy depend on more than economic 'fundamentals'. They also depend on how the family is organized, the family institutions that are in place, and society's cultural beliefs.
    Keywords: Families, Culture, Subjective beliefs, Economic outcomes
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Stark, Holger; Kosiorowski, Grzegorz (Cracow University of Economics)
    Abstract: We model an environment in which individuals prefer to be in a space in which their rank is higher, be it a social space, a geographical space, a work environment, or any other comparison sphere which we refer to in this paper, and without loss of generality, as a region. When the individuals can choose between more than two regions, we inquire: (i) whether a steady-state distribution of the population is reached; (ii) how long it will take to reach a steady state; and (iii) if a steady state obtains, whether at the steady state social welfare is maximized. Despite the fact that when there are three or more regions the mobility paths are more intricate than when there are only two regions, we prove that a steady-state distribution of the population across the regions is reached; we identify the upper bound of the number of time periods that it will take to reach the steady-state distribution; and we show that the steady-state distribution maximizes social welfare. This last result is surprising: even though the individuals act of their own accord, they achieve the socially preferred outcome.
    Keywords: inter-space mobility, three or more spaces, ordinal preferences, distaste for low rank, steady-state population distribution, social welfare
    JEL: C61 C62 D50 D60 D62 I31 R13 R23 Z13
    Date: 2023–02
  3. By: King King Li (Shenzhen Audenica Financial Technology Institute); Ying-Yi Hong (Chinese University of Hong Kong - Partenaires INRAE); Bo Huang (Chinese University of Hong Kong - Partenaires INRAE); Tony Tam (Chinese University of Hong Kong - Partenaires INRAE)
    Abstract: This study compares Chinese people's trust and trustworthiness, risk attitude, and time preference before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in China. We compare the preferences of subjects in two online experiments with samples drawn from 31 provinces across mainland China before and after the onset of the pandemic. We test two competing hypotheses regarding trust and trustworthiness. On the one hand, the outbreak as a collective threat could enhance in-group cohesion and cooperation and thus increase trust and trustworthiness. On the other hand, to the extent that people expect their future income to decline, they may become more self-protective and self-controlled, and thus less trusting and trustworthy and more risk averse and patient. Comparing before and after the onset, we found that the subjects increased in trustworthiness. After the onset, trust and trustworthiness (and risk aversion and present bias too) were positively correlated with the COVID-19 prevalence rate in the provinces. Subjects with more pessimistic expectations about income change showed more risk aversion and lower discount rates, supporting the speculation concerning self-control.
    Keywords: COVID-19, trust, trustworthiness, social preference, risk attitude
    Date: 2022–11
  4. By: Boris Gershman
    Abstract: This study examines the relationship between contemporary witchcraft beliefs and subjective well-being at the individual level. Using survey data from two waves of the Gallup World Poll in Sub-Saharan Africa, we show that witchcraft believers report lower levels of life satisfaction and are more likely to experience stress, worry, and sadness rather than happiness and enjoyment. Consistent with these patterns, a global dataset based on the Pew Research Center surveys reveals that witchcraft believers are less satisfied with how “things are going†in their countries. Both data sources further reveal a strong association between belief in witchcraft and an external locus of control expressed in fatalism and a perceived lack of freedom in making life choices. These findings are in line with the ethnographic evidence on the stress-inducing impact of witchcraft-related fears and contrast sharply with the widely explored role of religion and related supernatural beliefs in coping with anxiety.
    Keywords: Happiness, Life satisfaction, Religion, Religiosity, Subjective well-being, Supernatural beliefs, Witchcraft
    JEL: I31 Z10 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2023

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