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Is altruism evolutionarily stable ?

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  • Bester, H.
  • Güth, W.

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

We develop an evolutionary approach to explain altruistic preferences. Given their preferences, individuals interact rationally with each other. By comparing the success of players with different preferences, we investigate whether evolution favors altruistic or selfish attitudes. The outcome depends on whether the individuals' interactions are strategic complements or substitutes. Altruism and self-interest are context dependent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 1994-103.

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Date of creation: 1994
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:1994103

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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl

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Keywords: Game Theory; Altruism; game theory;

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References

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  1. Björnerstedt, Jonas & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1994. "Nash Equilibrium and Evolution by Imitation," Working Paper Series 407, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Bergstrom, T.C. & Stark, O., 1993. "How Altruism Can Prevail in an Evolutionary Environment," Papers 93-01, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  4. Becker, Gary S, 1976. "Altruism, Egoism, and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 817-26, September.
  5. Hammerstein, Peter & Selten, Reinhard, 1994. "Game theory and evolutionary biology," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 28, pages 929-993 Elsevier.
  6. Selten, Reinhard, 1991. "Evolution, learning, and economic behavior," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 3-24, February.
  7. Gueth, W. & Kliemt, H., 1993. "Competition or Co-Operation," Discussion Paper 1993-39, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Hansson, Ingemar & Stuart, Charles, 1990. "Malthusian Selection of Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 529-44, June.
  9. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  10. Mailath, George J., 1992. "Introduction: Symposium on evolutionary game theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-277, August.
  11. Rogers, Alan R, 1994. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 460-81, June.
  12. Winter, Sidney G, 1971. "Satisficing, Selection, and the Innovating Remnant," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 237-61, May.
  13. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
  14. Friedman, David D, 1988. "Does Altruism Produce Efficient Outcomes? Marshall versus Kaldor," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-13, January.
  15. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W, 1988. "Altruism and Time Consistency: The Economics of Fait Accompli," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1165-82, December.
  16. Boyer, George R, 1989. "Malthus Was Right after All: Poor Relief and Birth Rates in Southeastern England," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 93-114, February.
  17. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1994. "Human Relations in the Workplace," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 684-717, August.
  18. 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.
  19. Waldman, Michael, 1994. "Systematic Errors and the Theory of Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 482-97, June.
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