Theories of the evolution of cooperative behaviour: A critical survey plus some new results
AbstractGratuitous cooperation (in favour of non-relatives and without repeated interaction) eludes traditional evolutionary explanations. In this paper we survey the various theories of cooperative behaviour, and we describe our own effort to integrate these theories into a self-contained framework. Our main conclusions are as follows. First: altruistic punishment, conformism and gratuitous cooperation co-evolve, and group selection is a necessary ingredient for the co-evolution to take place. Second: people do not cooperate by mistake, as most theories imply; on the contrary, people knowingly sacrifice themselves for others. Third: in cooperative dilemmas conformism is an expression of preference, not a learning rule. Fourth, group-mutations (e.g., the rare emergence of a charismatic leader that brings order to the group) are necessary to sustain cooperation in the long run.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 12574.
Date of creation: 04 Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Cooperation; altruism; altruistic punishment; conformism; group-selection;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-01-24 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2009-01-24 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2009-01-24 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2009-01-24 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2009-01-24 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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