The Bioeconomics of Cooperation
AbstractWhen transactions and information are costly and exchange is non-simultaneous, ‘institutions matter’. They matter because exchange under these circumstances subjects the participants to potentially harmful behaviors by other participants, among which are: opportunistic behavior, agency, the free-rider problem, cheating, moral hazard, and adverse selection. Institutions constrain these behaviors, allowing the participants to take advantage of the gains from trade and specialization, and thereby facilitating cooperation. Individuals adhere to institutional rules because they gain by doing so. Because the individual gains are inseparable from the structure of the institutions, the institutions themselves necessarily become the focus of the analysis—as we see in the new institutional economics (NIE). The new group selection position in biology involves a similar shift in focus from the level of the individual to the group when studying the evolution of altruism. But some of the proponents of group selection go further, arguing that altruism in biology evolves because it is in the interest of the group, but not the individual. In fact, group level analysis is necessary in biology, as in the NIE, because it allows for the discovery of ‘institutions’ that constrain cheating, opportunistic behavior, etc., thereby making participation in the group in the long-run self-interest of the individual. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Bioeconomics.
Volume (Year): 2 (2000)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=103315
altruism; culture; evolution; group selection; natural selection; new institutional economics;
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Williamson, Oliver E, 1988. "The Logic of Economic Organization," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 65-93, Spring.
- Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
- Ellickson, Robert C, 1989. "A Hypothesis of Wealth-Maximizing Norms: Evidence from the Whaling Industry," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 83-97, Spring.
- Demsetz, Harold, 1988. "The Theory of the Firm Revisited," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 141-61, Spring.
- Peter Corning, 2007. "Synergy Goes to War: A Bioeconomic Theory of Collective Violence," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 109-144, August.
- Deby Cassill & Alison Watkins, 2010. "The evolution of cooperative hierarchies through natural selection processes," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 29-42, April.
- Geoffrey Hodgson, 2007. "Taxonomizing the Relationship Between Biology and Economics: A Very Long Engagement," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 169-185, August.
- Deby Cassill & Benjamin Hardisty & Alison Watkins, 2011. "A 4D natural selection model illuminates the enigma of altruism in the Shedao pit viper," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 17-29, April.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.