nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2023‒09‒04
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker, City University of New York

  1. Behavioural Responses to Unfair Institutions: Experimental Evidence on Rule Compliance, Norm Polarisation and Trust By Simon Columbus; Lars P. Feld; Matthias Kasper; Matthew D. Rablen
  2. A Non-Parametric Test of Risk Aversion By Jacob K Goeree; Bernardo Garcia-Pola
  3. Feature Engineering for Quantitative Analysis of Cultural Evolution By Celli, Fabio
  4. Sharing, Social Norms, and Social Distance: Experimental Evidence from Russia and Western Alaska By E. Lance Howe; James J. Murphy; Drew Gerkey; Olga B. Stoddard; Colin Thor West

  1. By: Simon Columbus; Lars P. Feld; Matthias Kasper; Matthew D. Rablen
    Abstract: This study investigates the effects of unfair enforcement of institutional rules on public good contributions, personal and social norms, and trust. In a preregistered online experiment (n = 1, 038), we find that biased institutions reduce rule compliance compared to fair institutions. However, rule enforcement – fair and unfair – reduces norm polarisation compared to no enforcement. We also find that social heterogeneity lowers average trust and induces ingroup favouritism in trust. Finally, we find consistent evidence of peer effects: higher levels of peer compliance raise future compliance and spillover positively into norms and trust. Our study contributes to the literature on behavioural responses to institutional design and strengthens the case for unbiased rule enforcement.
    Keywords: public goods, compliance, social norms, trust, audits, biased rule enforcement, polarisation
    JEL: H41 C72 C91 C92
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Jacob K Goeree; Bernardo Garcia-Pola
    Abstract: In economics, risk aversion is modeled via a concave Bernoulli utility within the expected-utility paradigm. We propose a simple test of expected utility and concavity. We find little support for either: only 30 percent of the choices are consistent with a concave utility, only two out of 72 subjects are consistent with expected utility, and only one of them fits the economic model of risk aversion. Our findings contrast with the preponderance of seemingly "risk-averse" choices that have been elicited using the popular multiple-price list methodology, a result we replicate in this paper. We demonstrate that this methodology is unfit to measure risk aversion, and that the high prevalence of risk aversion it produces is due to parametric misspecification.
    Date: 2023–08
  3. By: Celli, Fabio
    Abstract: In this paper we introduce the use of time-resolved variables to represent the evolution of categorical variables through time. Traditionally, the presence or absence of categorical variables are treated as 1 or 0 for computational purposes, and then aggregated with compression techniques, potentially generating biases when the information compressed into different variables is uneven. Our tests reveal that the use of time-resolved variables can help to prevent these biases, to assure higher reliability of the results and to allow an easier explanation of the models.
    Date: 2022–12–11
  4. By: E. Lance Howe (Department of Economics, University of Alaska Anchorage); James J. Murphy (Department of Economics, University of Alaska Anchorage); Drew Gerkey (Oregon State University); Olga B. Stoddard (Department of Economics, Bringham Young University); Colin Thor West (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
    Abstract: This paper investigates how dictator giving varies by social context and worthiness of the recipient. We conduct lab-in-the-field experiments in Kamchatka, Russia, and Western Alaska, as well as a lab experiment with university students, in which we vary social distance and recipient characteristics across treatments. We ask what motivates individuals to share and whether offers from a dictator game, where dictators give from own-earnings, can tell us something more fundamental about social norms and sharing. Results indicate that subjects living in rural Indigenous communities, in both Russia and Alaska, who depend heavily on wild food harvests and possess strong sharing norms, are significantly more likely to give positive amounts compared to university students. We also find that in Indigenous communities, family relations and financial needs are prioritized in giving decisions. We suggest that treatment differences correspond to social norm differences in our study areas.
    Keywords: dictator game, experimental economics, lab-in-the-field experiments, sharing, risk pooling
    JEL: C93 D64
    Date: 2023–07–18

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.
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