nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2023‒08‒21
three papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Social Preferences under the Shadow of the Future By Felix Kölle; Simone Quercia; Egon Tripodi
  2. Operationalizing cultural adaptation to climate change: contemporary examples from United States agriculture By Waring, Timothy; Niles, Meredith; Kling, Matthew; Hebert-Dufresne, Laurent; Sabzian, Hossein; Miller, Stephanie; Gotelli, Nicholas J.; McGill, Brian
  3. Eliciting Moral Preferences Under Image Concerns: Theory and Evidence By Roland Bénabou; Armin Falk; Luca Henkel; Jean Tirole

  1. By: Felix Kölle; Simone Quercia; Egon Tripodi
    Abstract: Social interactions predominantly take place under the shadow of the future. Previous literature explains cooperation in indefinitely repeated prisoner’s dilemma as predominantly driven by self-interested strategic considerations. This paper provides a causal test of the importance of social preferences for cooperation, varying the composition of interactions to be either homogeneous or heterogeneous in terms of these preferences. Through a series of pre-registered experiments (N = 1, 074), we show that groups of prosocial individuals achieve substantially higher levels of cooperation. The cooperation gap between prosocial and selfish groups persists even when the shadow of the future is increased to make cooperation attractive for the selfish and when common knowledge about group composition is removed.
    Keywords: cooperation, indefinitely repeated games, prisoner’s dilemma, social preferences, experiment
    JEL: C73 C91 C92
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Waring, Timothy; Niles, Meredith; Kling, Matthew; Hebert-Dufresne, Laurent; Sabzian, Hossein; Miller, Stephanie; Gotelli, Nicholas J.; McGill, Brian
    Abstract: It has been proposed that climate adaptation research can benefit from an evolutionary approach. But related empirical research is lacking. We advance the evolutionary study of climate adaptation with two case studies from contemporary United States agriculture. First, we define ‘cultural adaptation to climate change’ as a mechanistic process of population-level cultural change. We argue this definition enables rigorous comparisons, yields testable hypotheses from mathematical theory, and distinguishes adaptive change, non-adaptive change, and desirable policy outcomes. Next, we develop an operational approach to identify ‘cultural adaptation to climate change’ based on established empirical criteria. We apply this approach to USDA data on crop choices and the use of cover crops between 2008 and 2021. We find evidence that crop choices are adapting to local trends in two separate climate variables in some regions of the US. But evidence suggests that cover cropping may be adapting more to economic incentives than climatic conditions. Further research is needed to characterize the process of cultural adaptation, particularly the routes and mechanisms of cultural transmission. Furthermore, climate adaptation policy could benefit from research on factors that differentiate regions exhibiting adaptive trends in crop choice from those that do not.
    Date: 2023–06–30
  3. By: Roland Bénabou; Armin Falk; Luca Henkel; Jean Tirole
    Abstract: We analyze how the impact of image motives on behavior varies with two key features of the choice mechanism: single versus multiple decisions, and certainty versus uncertainty of consequences. Using direct elicitation (DE) versus multiple-price-list (MPL) or equivalently Becker-DeGroot-Marschak (BDM) schemes as exemplars, we characterize how image-seeking inflates prosocial giving. The signaling bias (relative to true preferences) is shown to depend on the interaction between elicitation method and visibility level: it is greater under DE for low image concerns, and greater under MPL/BDM for high ones. We experimentally test the model’s predictions and find the predicted crossing effect.
    Keywords: Moral behavior, deontology, utilitarianism, consequentialism, social image, self-image, norms, preference elicitation, multiple price list, experiments
    JEL: C91 D01 D62 D64 D78
    Date: 2023–07

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