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When fairness prevails

first_imgPhilosophers and scientists have long puzzled over the origins of fairness. Work by a group of Harvard researchers offers some clues, with the discovery that uncertainty is critical in the concept’s development.Using computer simulations of evolution, researchers at Harvard’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics (PED) — including Director Martin Nowak, scientist David Rand, and junior fellow Corina Tarnita — found that uncertainty is key to fairness. Hisashi Ohtsuki from the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Kanagawa, Japan, also contributed to the study. Their work was described in a Jan. 21 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“A number of papers have studied the evolution of fairness over the years,” said Rand, who will begin an assistant professorship at Yale this summer. “Our novel contribution was to take the effects of randomness into account. What we found was that as we turned up the uncertainty in our simulations, it fundamentally changed the nature of the evolutionary dynamic. The result was that in a world that has a lot of uncertainty, it actually became optimal to be fair, and natural selection favored fairness.”To model fairness, Rand and colleagues used the Ultimatum Game, which involves two players bargaining over a pot of money. The first player proposes how the money should be split. If the second player accepts the offer, the money is split as proposed; if the offer is rejected, the game is over and neither player gets anything.“The reason this game is interesting is that if you assume everyone is rational and self-interested, the second player should accept any offer, because even if they’re getting only one dollar it’s still better than nothing,” Rand said. “The first player should anticipate that, and should make the minimum possible offer.”The game almost never works that way, however.Instead, Rand said, many people will reject offers they believe are unfair. Earlier studies have shown that as many as half of players will reject offers of 30 percent or less — meaning they are effectively paying to retaliate against the other player for making such a low offer, or to stop the other player from getting ahead.“The proximate psychological explanation for why people behave this way in the Ultimatum Game is that they have a preference for fairness, and they’re willing to pay to create equality,” Rand said. “The question we were trying to answer was: Why? Why did we come to have those preferences?”Rand and his colleagues built a series of computer players, each of which had a specific strategy describing how much they would offer, and how much they would accept. Each round, all the computer players played the game with one another. Then they updated their strategies in a process similar to genetic evolution.“You can think of it as though the players that earned higher payoffs attracted more imitators. Players sometimes choose to change their behavior, and when they do, they copy the strategies of players who were more successful,” Rand explained. “It could also represent actual genetic evolution, where players with [a] big payoff leave more offspring. Either way, higher payoff strategies tend to become more common in the population over time.”By observing which strategies become dominant over multiple generations, the researchers were able to track how the system evolved, and saw that fairness offered players an evolutionary advantage, but only when uncertainty was factored into the system.To test whether these results would play out in the real world, Rand and colleagues used the online labor market Amazon Mechanical Turk to recruit hundreds of volunteers from around the globe. After playing the Ultimatum Game, participants were asked how easy it was for people in their community to determine who is, and who isn’t, successful.“We found exactly what the model predicted, which, I think, wouldn’t have been at all obvious had we not done the modeling first,” Rand said. “What we found is a correlation — the more uncertainty there is about who is successful and who isn’t, the more fair people are in the Ultimatum Game.”Understanding why that is, however, is trickier.“Think about a world where nobody is offering anything — everyone is completely rational and self-interested,” Rand said. “If you introduce a fair person into a world like that, they will do poorly, because they will make generous offers, and people will accept them. Other people, however, will make low offers to that person, and they will be rejected. As a result the fair person will never have the chance to succeed.”The same is true of a rational person in a generally fair world. Their low offers will be rejected, resulting in a poor payoff.So what happens if you assume that successful strategies are always successful and unsuccessful strategies are always unsuccessful, as previous studies have?“If you’re in a selfish world, the population can never leave that state, because the fair person is always at a disadvantage,” he said. “If you rely on these kind of deterministic dynamics, that first fair person is always going to die out and fairness as a strategy will never spread.“Whereas in a world where there’s uncertainty, when someone experiments with a fair strategy in a world of selfish people, they will still get a bad payoff, but sometimes just by chance that fair strategy might become more common in the population,” he continued. “And once it becomes common enough, the momentum switches and it’s better to be fair than selfish. That’s how it becomes the favored behavior.”This work was funded by support from the John Templeton Foundation.last_img read more


UK fund managers publish cost transparency proposal

first_imgThe UK’s Investment Association (IA) has proposed a new cost disclosure framework, including transaction costs and securities lending revenues.In a consultation published today, the fund management trade body presented a “common data engine” to provide a measure of asset management costs to multiple stakeholders and regulatory bodies.The proposal comes as the fund management sector faces intense scrutiny of management costs and transparency regarding expenses incurred in portfolio management.The IA has put forward templates for disclosure of costs and “contextual information” – including performance, trading volumes, and turnover – for pooled funds and segregated mandates. The proposals are designed to comply with current UK disclosure rules, as well as impending new regulations such as MIFID II, which will require greater transparency regarding investment research.They also take into account UK rules related to defined contribution pension scheme charges, and the requirements of local government pension schemes, the IA said.#*#*Show Fullscreen*#*# The Investment Association’s cost disclosure template for pooled fundsThe trade body added that the proposals would “adapt as necessary” to the outcomes of the FCA’s asset management market study. In last year’s interim report, the UK regulator criticised “weak” competition on price and a lack of transparency across the sector. The FCA’s final report is due out later this year.Jonathan Lipkin, director of public policy at the IA, said: “The new code provides for the first time a common framework for enhanced disclosure across investment products and services. It is a major opportunity to consistently define and provide data on charges and transaction costs.”He added that the IA would seek “regulatory recognition” for its code within the regulator’s rulebook, known as the Conduct of Business Sourcebook.The IA is seeking responses by 19 May 2017 with a view to publishing its full proposal in Q3 2017.The IA’s paper can be accessed here.center_img The Investment Association’s cost disclosure template for segregated mandates#*#*Show Fullscreen*#*#last_img read more


Toure takes on City challenge

first_img Toure pushed forward and fed Jesus Navas out wide. The Spaniard curled an inviting low ball into the area and Jovetic stuck out a leg to divert past Lukasz Fabianski. The goal fired up the home crowd for the first time and Jovetic urged them to make more noise as he ran away in celebration. But still the general quality did not improve and referee Neil Swarbrick booked Kyle Bartley for a clumsy challenge on Sergio Aguero. That pair were involved in another moment of controversy moments later. Aguero went down holding his head after an off-the-ball collision with Bartley and was told to get up by Angel Rangel. Aguero took exception to this and Swarbrick needed to step in to avert a confrontation. After more players arrived on the scene the official needed to talk to captains Vincent Kompany and Ashley Williams to calm the situation. As play finally settled down, City began to assert their superiority. Fabianski produced a fine fingertip save to touch a powerful Gael Clichy drive onto the post and Jovetic then shot from distance straight at the Polish keeper. Swansea made a lively start to the second half with Jefferson Montero breaking through but Hart was quick off his line to smother the shot. Hart did have an uncomfortable moment at a corner and then had to save from Glyfi Sigurdsson but Swansea gradually started to get pushed back. Aguero had a shot deflected wide and Montero needed to get back to put a dangerous Navas cross behind for a corner. Pablo Zabaleta powered forward and drove a shot narrowly over the bar. The goal City were threatening came just after the hour as Toure combined with Fernandinho. The pair exchanged passes and Toure took the Brazilian’s backheeled return in his stride to drive into the area and poke the ball past Fabianski. City pressed on in an attempt to make the game save with Aguero having another effort blocked and Jovetic curling an attempt just wide. Swansea did get further opportunities from a Sigurdsson free-kick and with Ki Sung-yueng and substitute Jonjo Shelvey pushing forward, but City repelled the threat. Navas could have killed the game after a swift City counter-attack but Fabianski saved well with his feet and James Milner also had a good chance blocked. City might have paid for those misses had Bafetimbi Gomis made more of a late chance but the substitute was hurried into shooting wide. There was another late scare as Hart was beaten by a deflected Shelvey free-kick but the ball dropped wide. Yaya Toure responded to Manuel Pellegrini’s rallying call as he fired champions Manchester City to a 2-1 Barclays Premier League win over Swansea. The result eased some of the anxiety at Eastlands after just one win in the previous six games in all competitions. Toure was at the heart of the victory, coming good after being sent off on his last appearance at the ground – the dismal Champions League loss to CSKA Moscow. The Ivorian had been rested after previous international breaks but, as he is suspended for Tuesday’s clash with Bayern Munich, Pellegrini had challenged him to reproduce his best. He may not have reached previous heights but it was a highly encouraging display. The opening to the game was tame, however, and the first half was scrappy throughout, although Swansea took the lead after nine minutes with a moment of high-quality attacking play. Nathan Dyer, returning to the side after injury, took a pass from Bony and then improvised to return it to the Ivory Coast striker with a clever flick into the area. City’s marking was slack, as the hosts offered Bony plenty of space, but the Swans man showed fine skill to control with his chest and then clip a shot past Joe Hart. The game remained at low tempo but City pieced together a fine move of their own to level the scores 10 minutes later. The City midfielder, below par for much of the season but continually backed by boss Pellegrini, powered forward to strike the winner just after the hour at the Etihad Stadium. City had needed to respond after Wilfried Bony struck early for the visitors with a sublime piece of skill inside the area. Stevan Jovetic grabbed the equaliser before City upped the tempo and Toure, in typical style, charged forward to settle the contest. Press Associationlast_img read more