nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2023‒03‒27
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Beasts of Burden, Trade, and Hierarchy: The Long Shadow of Domestication By Andreas Link
  2. Trust Institutions, Perceptions of Economic Performance and the Mitigating role of Political Diversity in Sub-Saharan Africa By Samba Diop; Simplice A. Asongu
  3. New Institutional Economics and Cliometrics By Eric C. Alston; Lee J. Alston; Bernardo Mueller
  4. Behavioral Economics in Education Market Design: A Forward-Looking Review By Alex Rees-Jones; Ran Shorrer
  5. Immigration, Female Labour Supply and Local Cultural Norms By Jonas Jessen; Sophia Schmitz; Felix Weinhardt
  6. Improving Quantal Cognitive Hierarchy Model Through Iterative Population Learning By Yuhong Xu; Shih-Fen Cheng; Xinyu Chen

  1. By: Andreas Link
    Abstract: This paper studies how the prehistoric geographic distribution of domesticable transport animal species has contributed to shaping di erences in development. I identify the historic ranges of the ten animal species that are (1) suitable for domestication and (2) suitable for carrying loads. Based on these ranges, I create a measure of the prehistoric presence of domesticable transport animals around the world. The empirical analysis reveals a strong relationship between the historic presence of domesticable transport animals and the emergence of ancient long-distance trade routes and early forms of hierarchy. Historical access to domesticable transport animals also continued to matter in the long run: Pre-industrial ethnic groups living in regions historically home to domesticable transport animals were more involved in trade and had built more complex hierarchical structures. Moreover, these groups developed greater numerical skills, larger levels of labor specialization, and higher levels of class stratification, thus underscoring the broad cultural and developmental impacts exerted by historical access to domesticable transport animals.
    Keywords: Domestication, hierarchy, long-distance trade, persistence
    JEL: F10 N30 N70 O10 Z10
    Date: 2023–03
  2. By: Samba Diop (Alioune Diop University, Bambey, Senegal); Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé, Cameroon)
    Abstract: Several previous studies have explored the relationship between trust and socio-economic conditions but do not attempt to examine channels through which the relation operates. In this paper, we examine how political fractionalization mitigates the positive relationship between trust institutions and national economic performance in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using Round 7 data of Afrobarometer in over 1000 districts in 34 countries, we find that trust institutions positively and significantly affect economic performance. Nevertheless, the positive effect is attenuated in districts with a high level of political diversity. More specifically, a higher level of trust is associated with lower economic performance at a higher level of political fractionalization and vice versa, with a steady linear decrease of the estimated coefficients. Policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: Trust institutions; economic performance; political diversity
    JEL: K00 O10 P16 P43 P50
    Date: 2023–01
  3. By: Eric C. Alston; Lee J. Alston; Bernardo Mueller
    Abstract: The New Institutional Economics (NIE) has its early roots in Cliometrics. Cliometrics began with a focus on using neoclassical theory to develop and test hypotheses in economic history. But empirical consideration of economic and political development within and across countries is limited, absent consideration of the institutional context. The NIE as applied in economic history first focused on the roles of transaction costs and property rights. From this micro-institutional perspective, the NIE expanded its focus to the role of institutions and norms on economic development as well as how economic forces along with political institutional variance influences outcomes both within and across countries. This involves considering both forces that impede and promote economic and political convergence across countries as well the forces that determine a transition to a new economic or political trajectory altogether. Testing for the determinants of economic and political development is plagued with omitted variables and endogeneity concerns, a constraint which has recently prompted scholars to draw on complexity theory to further supplement the NIE and Cliometrics.
    JEL: B52 F63 N01 P0 P50
    Date: 2023–02
  4. By: Alex Rees-Jones; Ran Shorrer
    Abstract: The rational-choice framework for modeling matching markets has been tremendously useful in guiding the design of school-assignment systems. Despite this success, a large body of work documents deviations from the predictions of this framework that appear influenced by behavioral-economic phenomena. We review these findings and the body of behavioral theories that have been presented as possible explanations. Motivated by this literature, we lay out paths for behavioral economists to be directly useful to education market design.
    JEL: D47 D9
    Date: 2023–02
  5. By: Jonas Jessen; Sophia Schmitz; Felix Weinhardt
    Abstract: We study the local evolution of female labour supply and cultural norms in West Germany in reaction to the sudden presence of East Germans who migrated to the West after reunification. These migrants grew up with high rates of maternal employment, whereas West German families mostly followed the traditional breadwinner-housewife model. We find that West German women increase their labour supply and that this holds within households. We provide additional evidence on stated gender norms, West-East friendships, intermarriage, and child care infrastructure. The dynamic evolution of the local effects on labour supply is best explained by local cultural learning and endogenous child care infrastructure.
    Keywords: cultural norms, local learning, gender, immigration
    JEL: J16 J21 D1
    Date: 2022–11–18
  6. By: Yuhong Xu; Shih-Fen Cheng; Xinyu Chen
    Abstract: In domains where agents interact strategically, game theory is applied widely to predict how agents would behave. However, game-theoretic predictions are based on the assumption that agents are fully rational and believe in equilibrium plays, which unfortunately are mostly not true when human decision makers are involved. To address this limitation, a number of behavioral game-theoretic models are defined to account for the limited rationality of human decision makers. The "quantal cognitive hierarchy" (QCH) model, which is one of the more recent models, is demonstrated to be the state-of-art model for predicting human behaviors in normal-form games. The QCH model assumes that agents in games can be both non-strategic (level-0) and strategic (level-$k$). For level-0 agents, they choose their strategies irrespective of other agents. For level-$k$ agents, they assume that other agents would be behaving at levels less than $k$ and best respond against them. However, an important assumption of the QCH model is that the distribution of agents' levels follows a Poisson distribution. In this paper, we relax this assumption and design a learning-based method at the population level to iteratively estimate the empirical distribution of agents' reasoning levels. By using a real-world dataset from the Swedish lowest unique positive integer game, we demonstrate how our refined QCH model and the iterative solution-seeking process can be used in providing a more accurate behavioral model for agents. This leads to better performance in fitting the real data and allows us to track an agent's progress in learning to play strategically over multiple rounds.
    Date: 2023–02

This nep-evo issue is ©2023 by Matthew Baker. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.