nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2023‒07‒10
seven papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. The Impact of the Prehistoric Out of Africa Migration on Cultural Diversity By Oded Galor; Marc Klemp; Daniel C. Wainstock
  2. Kinship can hinder cooperation in heterogeneous populations By Boyu Zhang; Yali Dong; Cheng-Zhong Qin; Sergey Gavrilets
  3. Social Preferences: Fundamental Characteristics and Economic Consequences By Ernst Fehr; Gary Charness
  4. What Are Reflexive Economic Agents? Position-Adjustment, SLAM, and Self-Organization By Davis, John B.;
  5. Cautious Belief and Iterated Admissibility By Emiliano Catonini; Nicodemo De Vito
  6. The Ethnicity and Identity of the Malagasy People: Reflections on the Afro-Indonesian Origins By Marcel Saitis
  7. On Evolutionary Geoeconomics and the RCEP Case: A Correlative SWOT Analysis By Vlados, Charis

  1. By: Oded Galor; Marc Klemp; Daniel C. Wainstock
    Abstract: Evidence suggests that the prehistoric Out of Africa Migration has impacted the degree of intra-population genetic and phenotypic diversity across the globe. This paper provides the first evidence that this migration has shaped cultural diversity. Leveraging a folklore catalogue of 958 oral traditions across the world, we find that ethnic groups further away from East Africa along the migratory routes have lower folkloric diversity. This pattern is consistent with the compression of genetic, phenotypic, and phonemic traits along the Out of Africa migration routes, setting conditions for the emergence and proliferation of differential cultural diversity and economic development across the world.
    JEL: N0 O10 O40 Z10
    Date: 2023–05
  2. By: Boyu Zhang; Yali Dong; Cheng-Zhong Qin; Sergey Gavrilets
    Abstract: Kin selection and direct reciprocity are two most basic mechanisms for promoting cooperation in human society. Generalizing the standard models of the multi-player Prisoner's Dilemma and the Public Goods games for heterogeneous populations, we study the effects of genetic relatedness on cooperation in the context of repeated interactions. Two sets of interrelated results are established: a set of analytical results focusing on the subgame perfect equilibrium and a set of agent-based simulation results based on an evolutionary game model. We show that in both cases increasing genetic relatedness does not always facilitate cooperation. Specifically, kinship can hinder the effectiveness of reciprocity in two ways. First, the condition for sustaining cooperation through direct reciprocity is harder to satisfy when relatedness increases in an intermediate range. Second, full cooperation is impossible to sustain for a medium-high range of relatedness values. Moreover, individuals with low cost-benefit ratios can end up with lower payoffs than their groupmates with high cost-benefit ratios. Our results point to the importance of explicitly accounting for within-population heterogeneity when studying the evolution of cooperation.
    Date: 2023–05
  3. By: Ernst Fehr; Gary Charness
    Abstract: We review the vast literature on social preferences by assessing what is known about their fundamental properties, their distribution in the broader population, and their consequences for important economic and political behaviors. We provide, in particular, an overview of the empirically identified characteristics of distributional preferences and how they are affected by merit, luck, and risk considerations as well as by concerns for equality of opportunity. In addition, we identify what is known about belief-dependent social preferences such as reciprocity and guilt aversion. The evidence indicates that the big majority of individuals have some sort of social preference while purely self-interested subjects are a minority. Our review also shows how the findings from laboratory experiments involving social preferences provide a deeper understanding of important field phenomena such as the consequences of wage inequality on work morale, employees’ resistance to wage cuts, individuals’ self-selection into occupations and sectors that are more or less prone to morally problematic behaviors, as well as issues of distributive politics. However, although a lot has been learned in recent decades about social preferences, there are still many important, unresolved, yet exciting, questions waiting to be tackled.
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Davis, John B. (Department of Economics Marquette University); (Department of Economics Marquette University)
    Abstract: If mainstream economics and its view of economic agents is designed for a world in which reflexivity and feedback processes in the economy are ‘tamed’ and predictable, how are we to understand economic agents in a world in which reflexivity is ‘untamed’ and economies regularly exhibit unexpected fluctuations and significant nonlinearities? In a nonlinear world, economies evolve and undergo critical phase transitions from one form of organization to another. It seems, then, that we should also expect economic agents to evolve and undergo critical phase transitions from being one type of agent to another just as we observe that economies evolve and undergo phase transitions from being one type of economy to another. Minsky’s analysis of how economies evolve in financial crises and how firms as agents evolve as their financial status changes seems a clear example of this. But then we would need a new conception of what economic agents are. This chapter offers such a conception in the idea of reflexive economic agents, both to redevelop an evolutionary, complexity account of what agents must be and also to forestall complexity researchers from falling back upon the standard utility conception of individuals. The chapter builds its reflexive agents conception around Herbert Simon’s complexity thinking about quasi-independence. It describes reflexive economic agents in what it call position-adjustment terms, and focusing on the ‘reflexive moment’ when agents find they need to revise and adjust their positions in regard to what they are doing. To explain how we can understand adjustment, the chapter employs the thinking behind recent ‘simultaneous localization and mapping’ (SLAM) research in robotics engineering to explain how agents understood in position-adjustment terms can be attributed a form of mobility understood as a capacity for self-direction reliant on a kind of locational self-awareness. The chapter then frames the reflexive individual conception that results in terms of Simon’s quasi-independence, evaluates this conception in identity terms, and then returns to the issue of why complex economic systems made up of utility maximizing agents cannot function as evolutionary systems. The chapter closes with a discussion of complex systems seen to evolve through phase transitions.
    Keywords: reflexive agents, complex systems, position-adjustment, SLAM robotics research, phase transitions, Minsky, Simon
    JEL: B41 B52 D91
    Date: 2023–06
  5. By: Emiliano Catonini; Nicodemo De Vito
    Abstract: We define notions of cautiousness and cautious belief to provide epistemic conditions for iterated admissibility in finite games. We show that iterated admissibility characterizes the behavioral implications of "cautious rationality and common cautious belief in cautious rationality" in a terminal lexicographic type structure. For arbitrary type structures, the behavioral implications of these epistemic assumptions are characterized by the solution concept of self-admissible set (Brandenburger, Friedenberg and Keisler 2008). We also show that analogous conclusions hold under alternative epistemic assumptions, in particular if cautiousness is "transparent" to the players. KEYWORDS: Epistemic game theory, iterated admissibility, weak dominance, lexicographic probability systems. JEL: C72.
    Date: 2023–05
  6. By: Marcel Saitis (Aurel Vlaicu University of Arad, Romania)
    Abstract: Every people group is distinguished through specific traits that reflect both its identity and ethnicity. While identity refers to the process of ‘becoming’ a people throughout history, and it represents its current dominant image, ethnicity refers to the roots of a people, the particular elements within it that make some say, ‘us’ or ‘them’ (People and Bailey 2009, 383). These features of ethnicity and identity are given by several elements that contribute to the formation of a people: anthropological aspects, linguistic elements, the history of a people and contextual framework. The anthropological aspects refer to a people and the origin of different ethnic groups located in the same geographical area. The linguistic elements point to the origins of the populations set together, characterized by specific vocabulary. The historical framework shows the process by which populations found in the same geographical area, due to specific circumstances, managed to preserve their ethnicity, but also to form a new common identity. The contextual framework refers to the social, cultural, and religious aspects specific to certain groups or mixed in the process of forming a new identity. In this article we aim for two things. First, we would like to make several observations on the ethnicity of the Malagasy people, located in the geographical territory of Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean, in the light of the above-mentioned elements, and then to look at the identity of the Malagasy people today, following the process of homogenization of the different populations and cultures that form it. Although we could not comprehensively cover all these elements that reflect ethnicity and identity, we sketched a picture of the Malagasy people including some of the four elements mentioned above: the genesis of the Malagasy people, the linguistic elements, and a brief historical, cultural, and religious framework reflected in the social life of the Malagasy people.
    Keywords: ethnicity, identity, Malagasy, Malagasy people, Madagascar, taboo
    Date: 2022–06
  7. By: Vlados, Charis (Democritus University of Thrace, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This integrative review introduces the correlative and evolutionary perspective of SWOT as a strategic analysis mechanism of geoeconomics. We use the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as a case study. Thus, we establish the emerging challenges and threats by correlating the comparative strengths and weaknesses of the RCEP, its members, and the global system. We conclude that this evolutionary approach of SWOT in geoeconomics can contribute to a holistic understanding of the current phase of the new globalization. It appears that evolutionary geoeconomics studies dialectically opposing views and interests. In this direction, we find that the vision and ambitions of the RCEP do not delve into significant socioeconomic depth compared to other multilateral organizations. This fact poses strategic risks to this new trade bloc’s longevity and socioeconomic sustainability. At the same time, we examine how these geostrategic dimensions are linked to the gradual construction of the broader framework of the new perspective of global socioeconomic development.
    Keywords: Evolutionary Geoeconomics; Correlative SWOT Analysis; RCEP; Socioeconomic Development; Global Liberalism
    JEL: B52 F59
    Date: 2023–03–01

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