Negative Reciprocity: The Coevolution of Memes and Genes
AbstractA 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 InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 0412003.
Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 06 Dec 2004
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Altruism; reciprocity; negative reciprocity; coevolution;
Other versions of this item:
- Friedman, Daniel & Singh, Nirvikar, 2003. "Negative Reciprocity: The Coevolution of Memes and Genes," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8n49r3t2, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
- C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
- D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-12-12 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2004-12-12 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2004-12-12 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2004-12-12 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
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