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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

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    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.
    2. Joseph Henrich, 2001. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 73-78, May.
    3. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
    4. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-1095, December.
    5. Eshel, I. & Samuelson, L. & Shaked, A., 1996. "Altruists, Egoists and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," Working papers 9612r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    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.
    7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521555838 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Samuel Bowles & Robert Boyd & Colin Camerer & Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis & Joseph Henrich & Richard McElreath, 2001. "In search of homo economicus: Experiments in 15 small-scale societies," Artefactual Field Experiments 00068, The Field Experiments Website.
    9. Ted Bergstrom, 2001. "The Algebra of Assortativity and the Evolution of Cooperation," Game Theory and Information 0106002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Avner Shaked & Ilan Eshel & Emilia Sansone, 1999. "The emergence of kinship behavior in structured populations of unrelated individuals," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 28(4), pages 447-463.
    11. Joseph Henrich, 2000. "Does culture matter in economic behavior? Ultimatum game bargaining among the machiguenga," Artefactual Field Experiments 00067, The Field Experiments Website.
    12. Nachbar, J H, 1990. ""Evolutionary" Selection Dynamics in Games: Convergence and Limit Properties," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 19(1), pages 59-89.
    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. Eshel, Ilan & Samuelson, Larry & Shaked, Avner, 1998. "Altruists, Egoists, and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 157-179, March.
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