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Evolution of Social Behavior: Individual and Group Selection

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  • Theodore C. Bergstrom

Abstract

How selfish does our evolutionary history suggest that humans will be? We explore models in which groups are formed and dissolved and where reproduction of individuals is determined by their payoffs in a game played within groups. If groups are formed "randomly " and reproductive success of group founders is determined by a multiperson prisoners' dilemma game, then selfish behavior will prevail over maximization of group payoffs. However, interesting models exist in which "group selection "sustains cooperative behavior. Forces that support cooperative behavior include assortative matching in groups, group longevity and punishment-based group norms.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 16 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 67-88

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:16:y:2002:i:2:p:67-88

Note: DOI: 10.1257/0895330027265
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 1999. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 183, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Ted Bergstrom, 2001. "The Algebra of Assortativity and the Evolution of Cooperation," Game Theory and Information 0106002, EconWPA.
  3. Theodore C. Bergstrom, . "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," ELSE working papers 017, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
  4. Eshel, I. & Samuelson, L. & Shaked, A., 1996. "Altruists, Egoists and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," Working papers 9612r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  5. Alvin E. Roth & V. Prasnikar & M. Okuno-Fujiwara & S. Zamir, 1998. "Bargaining and market behavior in Jerusalem, Liubljana, Pittsburgh and Tokyo: an experimental study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 344, David K. Levine.
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  7. Frank, Robert H, 1987. "If Homo Economicus Could Choose His Own Utility Function, Would He Want One with a Conscience?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 593-604, September.
  8. Eshel, Ilan & Samuelson, Larry & Shaked, Avner, 1998. "Altruists, Egoists, and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 157-79, March.
  9. Nachbar, J H, 1990. ""Evolutionary" Selection Dynamics in Games: Convergence and Limit Properties," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 59-89.
  10. Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd & Samuel Bowles & Colin Camerer & Herbert Gintis & Richard McElreath & Ernst Fehr, 2001. "In search of homo economicus: Experiments in 15 small-scale societies," Artefactual Field Experiments 00068, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. Ernst Fehr & Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd, 2003. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small- Scale Societies," Microeconomics 0305009, EconWPA.
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