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Reciprocity—an indirect evolutionary analysis

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  • Siegfried Berninghaus

    ()

  • Christian Korth

    ()

  • Stefan Napel

    ()

Abstract

This paper investigates strategic interaction between rational agents whose preferences evolve over time. Players face a pecuniary �game of life� comprising the ultimatum game and the dictator game. Utility may but need not be attached to the reciprocation of fair and unfair play by the opponent and equitable payoff distributions as proposed by Falk and Fischbacher (2001). Evolutionary fitness is determined solely by material success � regardless of the motives for its achievement. Agents cannot explicitly condition the social component of their preferences on whether they face the ultimatum or dictator game. Under these conditions, agents develop a strong preference for reciprocation but little interest in an equitable distribution as such. This corresponds to equitable ultimatum offers but full surplus appropriation by dictators. Adding an exogenous constraint on the possible divergence between preference for reciprocation and for an equitable distribution either makes ultimatum divisions asymmetric or dictators become generous depending on the relative frequency of ultimatum and dictator interaction.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Evolutionary Economics.

Volume (Year): 17 (2007)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 579-603

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Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:17:y:2007:i:5:p:579-603

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Related research

Keywords: Reciprocity; Evolutionary stability; Fairness; C78; C90;

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References

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  1. Benaim, Michel & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2000. "Deterministic Approximation of Stochastic Evolution in Games," Working Paper Series 534, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 30 Oct 2001.
  2. Steffen Huck & Joerg Oechssler, 1995. "The Indirect Evolutionary Approach to Explaining Fair Allocations," Game Theory and Information 9507001, EconWPA, revised 27 Aug 1998.
  3. Geanakoplos, John & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1989. "Psychological games and sequential rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 60-79, March.
  4. Falk Armin & Kosfeld Michael, 2012. "It's all about Connections: Evidence on Network Formation," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-36, September.
  5. Stahl, Dale O. & Haruvy, Ernan, 2008. "Level-n bounded rationality in two-player two-stage games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 41-61, January.
  6. JÃrg Oechssler & Frank Riedel, 2001. "Evolutionary dynamics on infinite strategy spaces," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 141-162.
  7. Werner Güth & Stefan Napel, 2006. "Inequality Aversion in a Variety of Games - An Indirect Evolutionary Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 1037-1056, October.
  8. Samuelson, Larry, 2001. "Introduction to the Evolution of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 225-230, April.
  9. Siegfried Berninghaus & Werner Güth & Hartmut Kliemt, . "From Teleology to Evolution Bridging the gap between rationality and adaptation in social explanation," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-24, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
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Cited by:
  1. Schliffke, Philipp, 2012. "The co-evolution of reciprocity-based wage offers and effort choices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 326-329.
  2. Anders Poulsen & Odile Poulsen, 2009. "Altruism and welfare when preferences are endogenous," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 09-02, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..

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