How does selfishness affect well-being ?
AbstractIs selfishness always a bad thing, in the sense that people can only be better off when everyone is concerned with the well-being of others as well as with his own, or are there situations in which altruism can actually make things worse for all people involved ? This paper tackles this question in the context of two-person symmetric games, which are modified by making the payoff of each player a weighted average of that player’s true payoff and the true payoff of the other player. The exogenously given degree of selfishness, which determines the weight a player attaches to his own payoff, is the same for both players. It is shown that it is not impossible for the equilibrium payoffs in the modified game to be lower than every equilibrium payoff in the original game. For example, in a symmetric Cournot duopoly competition, if the two firms move only halfway towards monopoly then their profits may be lower than those of both a monopolist and a duopolist. However, this can happen only if the symmetric equilibria in the original game are, in the appropriate sense, unstable. Thus, the effect of selfishness on the symmetric equilibrium payoffs in a symmetric two-person game depends crucially on the stability of these equilibria.
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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 1999054.
Date of creation: 01 Oct 1999
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Voie du Roman Pays 34, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)
Fax: +32 10474304
Web page: http://www.uclouvain.be/core
More information through EDIRC
altruism; symmetric games; Cournot duopoly; evolutionary stability;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
- D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
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.:
- M. Rabin, 2001.
"Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
511, David K. Levine.
- Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
- Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
- Bernheim, B Douglas & Stark, Oded, 1988. "Altruism within the Family Reconsidered: Do Nice Guys Finish Last?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1034-45, December.
- Stark, Oded, 1989. "Altruism and the Quality of Life," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 86-90, May.
- Bomze Immanuel M. & Weibull Jorgen W., 1995. "Does Neutral Stability Imply Lyapunov Stability?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 173-192, November.
- Monderer, Dov & Shapley, Lloyd S., 1996. "Potential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 124-143, May.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alain GILLIS).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.