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Evolution of Social Behavior: Individual and Group Selection

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  • Theodore C. Bergstrom

Abstract

How selfish does our evolutionary history suggest that humans will be? We explore models in which groups are formed and dissolved and where reproduction of individuals is determined by their payoffs in a game played within groups. If groups are formed "randomly " and reproductive success of group founders is determined by a multiperson prisoners' dilemma game, then selfish behavior will prevail over maximization of group payoffs. However, interesting models exist in which "group selection "sustains cooperative behavior. Forces that support cooperative behavior include assortative matching in groups, group longevity and punishment-based group norms.

Suggested Citation

  • Theodore C. Bergstrom, 2002. "Evolution of Social Behavior: Individual and Group Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 67-88, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:16:y:2002:i:2:p:67-88
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/0895330027265
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/0895330027265
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1995. "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 58-81, March.
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    6. Joseph Henrich, 2000. "Does Culture Matter in Economic Behavior? Ultimatum Game Bargaining among the Machiguenga of the Peruvian Amazon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 973-979, September.
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