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The coevolution of morality and legal institutions: an indirect evolutionary approach

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  • G TH, WERNER
  • OCKENFELS, AXEL

Abstract

Moral behavior and legal institutions coevolve. While evolutionary game theory has often analyzed the evolution of moral behavior within given institutional rules, it has not examined the coevolution of moral preferences and different institutional aspects of the decision environment. By an indirect evolutionary approach, we analyze the coevolution of moral preferences (in the sense of trustworthiness) and legal institutions like court rulings and legal insurance. We find that preference detection capabilities crowd in morality and can thus render useless the role of courts and legal insurance as public institutions. Legal institutions become crucial for the emergence of morality, however, when information about preference types is not available. This holds true even when courts do not have superior detection capabilities than other agents.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Journal of Institutional Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2005)
Issue (Month): 02 (December)
Pages: 155-174

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jinsec:v:1:y:2005:i:02:p:155-174_00

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  1. Gueth, W. & Kliemt, H., 1993. "Competition or Co-Operation," Discussion Paper 1993-39, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Ockenfels, Axel & Selten, Reinhard, 2000. "An Experiment on the Hypothesis of Involuntary Truth-Signalling in Bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 90-116, October.
  3. Werner Güth & Axel Ockenfels, 2000. "Evolutionary Norm Enforcement," CESifo Working Paper Series 331, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Kirstein, Roland & Schmidtchen, Dieter, 1997. "Judicial detection skill and contractual compliance," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 509-520, December.
  5. 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.
  6. Bar-Gill, O. & Fershtman, C., 2000. "The Limit of Public Policy: Endogenous Preferences," Discussion Paper 2000-71, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  7. Brennan, G. & Güth, W. & Kliemt, H., 1997. "Trust in the Shadow of the Courts," Discussion Paper 1997-89, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Werner Güth & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "The Coevolution of Trust and Institutions in Anonymous and Non-anonymous Communities," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-07, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  9. Selten, Reinhard, 1983. "Evolutionary stability in extensive two-person games," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 269-363, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Aviad Heifetz & Chris Shannon & Yossi Spiegel, 2005. "The Dynamic Evolution of Preferences," Discussion Papers 1415, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Axel Ockenfels, 2008. "Marktdesign und Experimentelle Wirtschaftsforschung," Working Paper Series in Economics 41, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  3. Wolfgang Leininger & Axel Ockenfels, 2007. "The Penalty-Duel and Institutional Design: Is there a Neeskens-Effect?," Working Paper Series in Economics 34, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  4. Werner Güth & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "The Coevolution of Trust and Institutions in Anonymous and Non-anonymous Communities," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-07, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  5. Heifetz, Aviad & Shannon, Chris & Spiegel, Yossi, 2007. "What to maximize if you must," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 31-57, March.
  6. Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "Reputationsmechanismen auf Internet-Marktplattformen - Theorie und Empirie -," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-46, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  7. Safarzynska, Karolina & van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M., 2010. "Evolving power and environmental policy: Explaining institutional change with group selection," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 743-752, February.
  8. Eyal Winter & Ignacio Garcia-Jurado & Jose Mendez-Naya & Luciano Mendez-Naya, 2009. "Mental Equilibrium and Rational Emotions," Discussion Paper Series dp521, The Center for the Study of Rationality, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  9. Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "New Institutional Structures on the Internet: The Economic Design of Online Auctions," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-08, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.

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