nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2013‒09‒13
nine papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Cooperation and Signaling with Uncertain Social Preferences By John Duffy; Felix Munoz-Garcia
  2. En värdefull berättelse Wallenbergarnas historieprojekt By Olsson, Ulf
  3. Interindividual deprivation, close and remote individuals By Luis José Imedio Olmedo; Elena Bárcena-Martín; Encarnación M. Parrado Gallardo
  4. The Evolution of 'Theory of Mind': Theory and Experiments By Erik O. Kimbrough; Nikolaus Robalino; Arthur J. Robson
  5. Giving according to preferences: Decision-making in the group dictator game reconsidered By Axel Franzen; Sonja Pointner
  6. What drives the relevance and reputation of economics journals? An update from a survey among economists By Haucap, Justus; Muck, Johannes
  7. Collective Responsibility By Thomas J. Miceli
  8. Innovation in a generalized timing game By Smirnov, Vladimir; Wait, Andrew
  9. Long-Term Barriers to Economic Development By Spolaore, Enrico; Wacziarg, Romain

  1. By: John Duffy; Felix Munoz-Garcia
    Abstract: This paper investigates behavior in finitely repeated simultaneous and sequential-move prisoner's dilemma games when there is one-sided incomplete information and signaling about players' concerns for fairness, specifically, their preferences regarding "inequity aversion." In this environment, we show that only a pooling equilibrium can be sustained, in which a player type who is unconcerned about fairness initially cooperates in order to disguise himself as a player type who is concerned about fairness. This disguising strategy induces the uninformed player to cooperate in all periods of the repeated game, including the final period, at which point the player type who is unconcerned about fairness takes the opportunity to defect, i.e., he "backstabs" the uninformed player. Despite such last-minute defection, our results show that the introduction of incomplete information can actually result in a Pareto improvement under certain conditions. We connect the predictions of this "backstabbing" equilibrium with the frequently observed decline in cooperative behavior in the final period of finitely-repeated experimental games.
    Keywords: Prisoner\'s Dilemma, Social Preferences, Inequity Aversion, Incomplete Information, Siganling, Information Transmission
    JEL: C72 C73 D82
    Date: 2012–03
  2. By: Olsson, Ulf (Department of Economic History, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: This working paper is about how a series of business history projects was launched in the second half of the twentieth century. In connection with the 1956 centenary of the Wallenberg’s bank, the family assembled the necessary expertise to document the first hundred years. In the 1960s the radical left was highly critical of the Wallenberg’s financial and industrial dynasty; the head of the family, Marcus Wallenberg, accordingly initiated an extensive programme of historical research to show what his family and its enterprises had actually done for Sweden’s economic development. The historian and archivist Gert Nylander was entrusted with the task of recruiting scholars for the various projects: biographies of the family’s successive heads and histories of the major companies in which the Wallenbergs had a controlling interest. The two dozen or so business histories are presented in this article along with their authors, of whom I am one. Marcus Wallenberg’s and Nylander’s mutual trust meant that besides being based on excellent access to the sources, these business histories could meet the standards that professional historians expect. Private industrialists’ interest in their own history is liable to clash with the aims of academic research. In my opinion, in this particular case and thanks to a number of circumstances, fruitful collaboration was achieved to the benefit of historical research into Swedish business.
    Keywords: Wallenberg; Banking History; Sweden; Financial History; Gert Nylander
    JEL: N24 N84
    Date: 2013–09–02
  3. By: Luis José Imedio Olmedo (Dpto. Estadística y Econometría, University of Málaga.); Elena Bárcena-Martín (Dpto. Estadística y Econometría, University of Málaga.); Encarnación M. Parrado Gallardo (Dpto. Estadística y Econometría, University of Málaga.)
    Abstract: In assessing relative deprivation, the classical approach considers that individuals compare their income with each and every income of the distribution, and assign equal weight to these comparisons. In this paper we propose a more realistic alternative approach to obtain individual deprivation. We assume that the deprivation of the individual depends, to a greater extent, on the situation of those who are part of their social environment (neighbors, colleagues, family, or, in general, the individual’s reference group) rather than on the situation of those in an unattainable situation from the individual’s point of view. In developing their aspirations, individuals focus on the group to which they belong or at least, they feel they are likely to belong to. As a particular case, our proposal includes the classical approach, allowing us to explain some situations that do not fall under the assumptions of that approach.
    Keywords: Inequality, inter-individual comparisons, reference groups, weighting functions.
    JEL: C10 D31 I38
    Date: 2013–09–05
  4. By: Erik O. Kimbrough (Dept. of Economics, Simon Fraser University); Nikolaus Robalino (Dept. of Economics, Simon Fraser University); Arthur J. Robson (Dept. of Economics, Simon Fraser University)
    Abstract: This paper provides an evolutionary foundation for our capacity to attribute preferences to others. This ability is intrinsic to game theory, and is a key component of "Theory of Mind", perhaps the capstone of social cognition. We argue here that this component of theory of mind allows organisms to efficiently modify their behavior in strategic environments with a persistent element of novelty. Such environments are represented here by multistage games of perfect information with randomly chosen outcomes. "Theory of Mind" then yields a sharp, unambiguous advantage over less sophisticated, behavioral approaches to strategic interaction. In related experiments, we show the subscale for social skills in standard tests for autism is a highly significant determinant of the speed of learning in such games.
    Keywords: Evolution, Theory of mind
    JEL: D01 C7
    Date: 2013–09
  5. By: Axel Franzen; Sonja Pointner
    Abstract: We study the decision process in a group dictator game in which three subjects can distribute an initial endowment between themselves and a group of recipients. The experiment consists of two stages; first, individuals play a standard dictator game. Second, individuals are randomly matched into groups of three and communicate via instant messaging regarding the decision in the group dictator game. In contrast to former studies our results show that group decisions do not differ from individual decisions in the dictator game. Furthermore, the analysis of the chat history reveals that players make proposals according to their preferences as revealed in the single dictator game and that these proposals in groups drive the final allocation.
    Keywords: dictator game, group dictator game, fairness games, small group research
    JEL: B3 C79 C91 C92 D03 D7
    Date: 2013–09–05
  6. By: Haucap, Justus; Muck, Johannes
    Abstract: This is paper analyses the interrelationship between perceived journal relevance and reputation. Based on a survey of 705 members of the German Economic Association, we find a strong interrelationship between journal reputation and relevance where a journal's perceived relevance has a stronger effect on the journal's reputation than vice versa. Moreover, past journal ratings conducted by the Handelsblatt and the German Economic Association (GEA) directly affect journals' reputation among German economists and indirectly also their perceived relevance, but the effect on reputation is more than twice as large as the effect on perceived relevance. In general, citations have a non-linear impact on perceived journal reputation and relevance. While the number of landmark articles published in a journal increases reputation, an increase in the so-called H-index even tends to decrease a journal's perceived relevance, as long as this is not simultaneously reflected in a higher Handelsblatt- and/or GEA-rating. We also identify significant differences in the views on journal relevance and reputation between different age groups. --
    Keywords: Economic Journals,Academic Journals,Reputation,Relevance,Rigor,Economists,Fractional Response Models
    JEL: A11 A14 I23 L82
    Date: 2013
  7. By: Thomas J. Miceli (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: The concept of collective responsibility, or group punishment, for crimes or other harmful acts was a pervasive feature of ancient societies, as exemplified by the Greek notion of “pollution” and the Roman doctrines of noxal liability and quasi-delicts. This chapter briefly surveys historical examples of collective responsibility, which have largely given way to the modern concept of individual responsibility, though vestiges of collective responsibility remain in modern culture and law (notably in the form of vicarious liability). The chapter then lays out a theoretical analysis of the choice between collective and individual responsibility that highlights those circumstances in which each is preferred as a law enforcement strategy.
    Keywords: Collective responsibility, individual punishment, group punishment, liability
    JEL: K14 K42 N40
    Date: 2013–08
  8. By: Smirnov, Vladimir; Wait, Andrew
    Abstract: We examine innovation as a timing game with complete information and observable actions in which firms decide when to enter a market. We characterize all pure strategy subgame perfect equilibria for the two-player symmetric game. In particular, we describe all subgame perfect equilibria when both the leader's and the followers' payoff functions are multi-peaked, non-monotonic and discontinuous. We find that there are potentially multiple equilibria, which could involve: joint adoption by both firms, with and without rent equalization; and, alternatively, single-firm adoption with a second-mover advantage. Economic applications are discussed including process and product innovation and the timing of the sale of an asset.
    Keywords: product innovation; process innovation; follower; leader; entry; timing games
    Date: 2013–08
  9. By: Spolaore, Enrico (Tufts University); Wacziarg, Romain (UCLA, NBER and CEPR)
    Abstract: What obstacles prevent the most productive technologies from spreading to less developed economies from the worlds technological frontier? In this paper, we seek to shed light on this question by quantifying the geographic and human barriers to the transmission of technologies. We argue that the intergenerational transmission of human traits, particularly culturally trans- mitted traits, has led to divergence between populations over the course of history. In turn, this divergence has introduced barriers to the di¤usion of technologies across societies. We provide measures of historical and genealogical distances between populations, and document how such distances, relative to the worlds technological frontier, act as barriers to the di¤usion of devel- opment and of speci…c innovations. We provide an interpretation of these results in the context of an emerging literature seeking to understand variation in economic development as the result of factors rooted deep in history.
    Keywords: Long-run growth, genetic distance, intergenerational transmission, di¤usion of innovations.
    Date: 2013

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