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Negative Reciprocity: The Coevolution of Memes and Genes

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Author Info

  • Daniel Friedman

    (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • Nirvikar Singh

    (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Abstract

A preference for negative reciprocity is an important part of the human emotional repertoire. We model its role in sustaining cooperative behavior but highlight an intrinsic free-rider problem: the fitness benefits of negative reciprocity are dispersed throughout the entire group, but the fitness costs are borne personally. Evolutionary forces tend to unravel people’s willingness to bear the personal cost of punishing culprits. In our model, the countervailing force that sustains negative reciprocity is a meme consisting of a group norm together with low-powered (and low-cost) group enforcement of the norm. The main result is that such memes coevolve with personal tastes and capacities so as to produce the optimal level of negative reciprocity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 0412003.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 06 Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0412003

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 26
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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Keywords: Altruism; reciprocity; negative reciprocity; coevolution;

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References

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  1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 336, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Robert W. Rosenthal, 2001. "Trust and social efficiencies," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 413-428.
  3. David K. Levine, 1998. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 593-622, July.
  4. Friedman, Daniel & Singh, Nirvikar, 2009. "Equilibrium vengeance," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 813-829, July.
  5. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  6. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215, December.
  7. Sethi, Rajiv & Somanathan, E., 2003. "Understanding reciprocity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 1-27, January.
  8. Friedman, Daniel, 1991. "Evolutionary Games in Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 637-66, May.
  9. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, December.
  10. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  11. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2000. "The Evolution of Strong Reciprocity," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-05, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  12. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1989. "If Homo Economicus Could Choose His Own Utility Function, Would He Want One with a Conscience?: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 588-93, June.
  13. 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.
  14. Joel M. Guttman, 2003. "Repeated interaction and the evolution of preferences for reciprocity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 631-656, 07.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lauren Cohen & Andrea Frazzini & Christopher Malloy, 2008. "Hiring Cheerleaders: Board Appointments of "Independent" Directors," NBER Working Papers 14232, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Daniel Friedman & Nirvikar Singh, 2002. "Equilibrium Vengeance," CESifo Working Paper Series 766, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Friedman, Daniel & Singh, Nirvikar, 2004. "Vengefulness Evolves in Small Groups," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt0xp29105, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  4. Diego Rinallo & Suman Basuroy & Ruhai Wu & Hyo Jeon, 2013. "The Media and Their Advertisers: Exploring Ethical Dilemmas in Product Coverage Decisions," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 425-441, May.
  5. Yannick Thams & Ying Liu & Mary Glinow, 2013. "Asian favors: More than a cookie cutter approach," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 461-486, June.
  6. Guttman, Joel M., 2013. "On the evolution of conditional cooperation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 15-34.

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