nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2023‒10‒23
six papers chosen by
Matthew Baker, City University of New York

  1. Moral Boundaries By Benjamin Enke
  2. Evolution of environmentally mediated social interactions under isolation by distance By Peña, Jorge; Mullon, Charles; Lehmann, Laurent
  3. Religion and Growth By Sascha O. Becker; Jared Rubin; Ludger Woessmann
  4. Historical View of Diabetics Mellitus: From Ancient Egyptian Polyuria to Discovery of Insulin By Mohajan, Devajit
  5. Making Change Easy Is Not Always Good By Gilles Grolleau; Naoufel Mzoughi; Deborah Peterson
  6. The Birth Order Effect: A Modern Phenomenon? By Nuevo-Chiquero, Ana; Vidal-Fernandez, Marian; Lehmann, Jee-Yeon K.

  1. By: Benjamin Enke
    Abstract: This article reviews the growing economics literature that studies the politico-economic impacts of heterogeneity in moral boundaries across individuals and cultures. The so-called universalism-versus-particularism cleavage has emerged as a main organizing principle behind various salient features of contemporary political competition, including individual-level and spatial variation in voting, the realignment of rich liberals and poor conservatives, the internal structure of ideology, and the moral content of political messaging. A recurring theme is that the explanatory power of universalism for left-wing policy views and voting is considerably larger than that of traditional economic variables. Looking at the origins of heterogeneity in universalism, an emerging consensus is that cross-group variation is partly economically functional and reflects that morality evolved to support cooperation in economic production. This insight organizes much work on how kinship systems, market exposure, political institutions and ecology have shaped universalism through their impacts on the relative benefits of localized and impersonal interactions.
    JEL: D01 D03 D70
    Date: 2023–09
  2. By: Peña, Jorge; Mullon, Charles; Lehmann, Laurent
    Abstract: Many social interactions happen indirectly via modifications of environmental variables, e.g. through the depletion of renewable resources or the secretion of functional compounds. Here, we derive the selection gradient on a quantitative trait affecting the dynamics of such environmental vari-ables that feedback on reproduction and survival in a patch-structured population that is finite, of con-stant size, and subject to isolation by distance. Our analysis shows that the selection gradient depends on how a focal individual influences the fitness of all future individuals in the population through modifications of the environmental variables they experience, weighted by the neutral relatedness be-tween recipients and the focal. The evolutionarily relevant trait-driven environmental modifications are formalized as the extended phenotypic effects of an individual, which quantify how a trait change in the individual in the present affects the environmental variables in all patches at all future times. When the trait affects reproduction and survival through some payoff function, the selection gradient can be expressed in terms of extended phenotypic effects weighted by scaled-relatedness coefficients. We show how to compute extended phenotypic effects, relatedness, and scaled-relatedness coefficients using Fourier analysis, allowing us to investigate a broad class of environmentally mediated social in-teractions in a tractable way. We illustrate our approach by studying the evolution of a trait controlling the costly production of some lasting commons (e.g. a common-pool resource or a toxic compound) that can diffuse in space. We show that whether selection favours environmentally mediated altruism or spite depends on the spatial correlation between an individual’s lineage and the commons originat-ing from its patch. The sign of this correlation depends on interactions between dispersal patterns and the commons’ renewal dynamics. More broadly, we suggest that selection can favour a wide range of social behaviours when these are mediated in space and time through environmental feedback.
    Keywords: Adaptive dynamics; Metacommunity; Extended Phenotype; Altruism; Spite
    Date: 2023–10–02
  3. By: Sascha O. Becker (Monash University and University of Warwick; CAGE, CEH@ANU, CEPR, CESifo, CReAM, IZA, ROA, Rockwool Foundation Berlin, and SoDa Labs); Jared Rubin (Chapman University); Ludger Woessmann (University of Munich, ifo Institute; Hoover Institution, Stanford University; CESifo, IZA, and CAGE)
    Abstract: We use the elements of a macroeconomic production function—physical capital, human capital, labor, and technology—together with standard growth models to frame the role of religion in economic growth. Unifying a growing literature, we argue that religion can enhance or impinge upon economic growth through all four elements because it shapes individual preferences, societal norms, and institutions. Religion affects physical capital accumulation by influencing thrift and financial development. It affects human capital through both religious and secular education. It affects population and labor by influencing work effort, fertility, and the demographic transition. And it affects total factor productivity by constraining or unleashing technological change and through rituals, legal institutions, political economy, and conflict. Synthesizing a disjoint literature in this way opens many interesting directions for future research.
    Keywords: religion, growth, Christianity, Judaism, Islam
    JEL: Z12 O40 N30 I25 O15
    Date: 2023–10
  4. By: Mohajan, Devajit
    Abstract: History is the pioneer of all researches and developments, and the history of diabetes has its beginnings in antiquity about over three millennia. Diabetes mellitus is one of the oldest diseases from the human civilization. Also it is one of the most studied diseases in the history of medicine. Main symptoms of this disease are hyperglycaemia, excessive thirsty, increased appetite, gradual loss of body weight, and continuous passing of huge honey-sweet urine that often drew ants. The disease causes either for inadequate insulin production, or for the body cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Descriptions of diabetes mellitus have been found in the Egyptian Papyri, in ancient Indian and Chinese medical literature, and in the works of ancient Greek and Arab physicians. In the 17th century works of Thomas Willis; in the 19th century, the glycogenic action of the liver is done by French physiologist Claude Bernard; famous experiment of removing the pancreas from a dog and producing severe and fatal diabetes are performed by Oskar Minkowski and Joseph von Mering; and finally in the 19th century, isolation of insulin from pancreatic islets is done by Frederick Banting and Charles Best to save diabetes patients from the suffering from diabetes. These are the roots of all achievements in favor of welfare of diabetes patients. At present the prevalence of diabetes is very high worldwide, and is increasing day by day. In this study historical points of diabetes are highlighted for the awareness of this disease.
    Keywords: Dibatics, Papyrus Ebers, ancient period, history, insulin, treatment
    JEL: A1 A13 A14 I1 I12 I15 I3 I31
    Date: 2023–03–10
  5. By: Gilles Grolleau (ESSCA - Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Commerciales d'Angers); Naoufel Mzoughi (ECODEVELOPPEMENT - Unité de recherche d'Écodéveloppement - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Deborah Peterson (Crawford School of Public Policy – Australian National University)
    Abstract: A first order law of behavioral change is to make change easy. Nevertheless, this recommendation can sometimes backfire, at least for some subgroups. We examine mechanisms which may cause application of this intuitively convincing rule to be counterproductive, namely lack of meaning, the moral licensing effect, and the boredom threat. We suggest a number of hypotheses, based on our review of the behavioral literature in this area, which could be empirically tested in future research. We also propose some practical ways to avoid the "making things easy" trap and make environmental change more attractive.
    Keywords: Behavioral change, environment, goals, public policy, public strategies
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Nuevo-Chiquero, Ana (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid); Vidal-Fernandez, Marian (University of Sydney); Lehmann, Jee-Yeon K. (University of Houston)
    Abstract: We provide a historical perspective on the birth order effect by examining differences in adult occupational rank among brothers in 19th and early 20th century Netherlands. Using a rich historical dataset compiling administrative birth and marriage registry records linking family members, we further analyze the role of family composition and socio-economic status in modulating the birth order effect. While consistent with findings in modern developed countries, we find that later-born males hold lower-ranked occupations than their older male siblings, we also find that consistent with modern evidence from emerging economies like India and China, this negative birth order effect is primarily driven by differences between the first- and the last-born and their siblings, and by the number of brothers in the family. Birth order differences – particularly the first-born advantage – are larger among socio-economically advantaged families and in more urbanised areas, while the opposite is true for the last-born effect. Surprisingly, the first-born advantage or son-preference is not driven by inheritance rules or transmission of occupations to children born earlier in the family. Taken together, our findings suggest that birth order effects and quantity-quality tradeoffs in families, are not merely modern phenomena but have been a source of context-dependent intrahousehold inequality throughout the centuries.
    Keywords: birth order, first-born, the Netherlands, historical data
    JEL: J01 N14
    Date: 2023–09

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