Markets Is Strong Reciprocity a Maladaptation? On the Evolutionary Foundations of Human Altruism
AbstractIn recent years a large number of experimental studies have documented the existence of strong reciprocity among humans. Strong reciprocity means that people willingly repay gifts and punish the violation of cooperation and fairness norms even in anonymous one-shot encounters with genetically unrelated strangers. We provide ethnographic and experimental evidence suggesting that ultimate theories of kin selection, reciprocal altruism, costly signaling and indirect reciprocity do not provide satisfactory evolutionary explanations of strong reciprocity. The problem of these theories is that they can rationalize strong reciprocity only if it is viewed as maladaptive behavior whereas the evidence suggests that it is an adaptive trait. Thus, we conclude that alternative evolutionary approaches are needed to provide ultimate accounts of strong reciprocity.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 140.
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Reciprocity; Maladaptation; Evolutionary Foundations; Human Altruism;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
- C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2003-01-27 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2003-01-27 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-GTH-2003-01-27 (Game Theory)
- NEP-LAM-2003-01-27 (Central & South America)
- NEP-PKE-2003-01-27 (Post Keynesian Economics)
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