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Public Goods Games, Altruism, and Evolution

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  • INGELA ALGER

Abstract

I analyze the evolution of altruistic preferences in a population where individuals are matched pairwise to play a one-shot public goods game. I determine the evolutionarily stable degree of altruism, allowing for assortative matching. The stable degree of altruism is strictly smaller than the degree of assortativity. In particular, if matching is completely random, spite is stable, and a positive degree of assortativity is necessary for pure selfishness to be stable. Furthermore, the stable degree of altruism is increasing in the degree of assortativity, and it depends on the specifics of the public goods game. Copyright © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc..

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  • Ingela Alger, 2010. "Public Goods Games, Altruism, and Evolution," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(4), pages 789-813, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:12:y:2010:i:4:p:789-813
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bolle, Friedel, 2000. "Is altruism evolutionarily stable? And envy and malevolence?: Remarks on Bester and Guth," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 131-133.
    2. Ted Bergstrom, "undated". "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," Papers _023, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
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    6. Bester, Helmut & Guth, Werner, 1998. "Is altruism evolutionarily stable?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 193-209.
    7. Cox, Donald & Hansen, Bruce E. & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 2004. "How responsive are private transfers to income? Evidence from a laissez-faire economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 2193-2219.
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    9. Maria Montero, 2008. "Proportional Payoffs in Majority Games," Discussion Papers 2008-03, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    10. Jung-Kyoo Choi, 2008. "Play locally, learn globally: group selection and structural basis of cooperation," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, pages 239-257.
    11. Ingela Alger & Jörgen W. Weibull, 2010. "Kinship, Incentives, and Evolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1725-1758.
    12. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 990-1008.
    13. Oechssler, Jorg & Riedel, Frank, 2002. "On the Dynamic Foundation of Evolutionary Stability in Continuous Models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, pages 223-252.
    14. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 905-950.
    15. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 990-1008.
    16. Possajennikov, Alex, 2000. "On the evolutionary stability of altruistic and spiteful preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 125-129.
    17. Oechssler, Jorg & Riedel, Frank, 2002. "On the Dynamic Foundation of Evolutionary Stability in Continuous Models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 223-252, December.
    18. B. Curtis Eaton & Mukesh Eswaran & Robert J. Oxoby, 2011. "Us and `Them': the origin of identity, and its economic implications," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(3), pages 719-748, August.
    19. Bester, Helmut & Guth, Werner, 1998. "Is altruism evolutionarily stable?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 193-209.
    20. Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd & Samuel Bowles & Colin Camerer & Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis & Richard McElreath & Michael Alvard & Abigail Barr & Jean Ensminger & Kim Hill & Francisco Gil-White & Micha, 2001. "Economic Man in Cross-Cultural Perspective: Behavioral Experiments in Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," Working Papers 01-11-063, Santa Fe Institute.
    21. Robin Cubitt & Michalis Drouvelis & Simon Gächter, 2011. "Framing and free riding: emotional responses and punishment in social dilemma games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, pages 254-272.
    22. Ingela Alger & Jörgen Weibull, 2009. "Kinship, Incentives and Evolution," Working Papers hal-00435431, HAL.
    23. James M. Walker & Matthew A. Halloran, 2004. "Rewards and Sanctions and the Provision of Public Goods in One-Shot Settings," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, pages 235-247.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wu, Jiabin, 2016. "Political Institutions and Preference Evolution," MPRA Paper 69597, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Baland, Jean-Marie & Bonjean, Isabelle & Guirkinger, Catherine & Ziparo, Roberta, 2016. "The economic consequences of mutual help in extended families," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 38-56.
    3. Landier, Augustin & Plantin, Guillaume, 2011. "Inequality, Tax Avoidance, and Financial Instability," CEPR Discussion Papers 8391, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Ingela Alger & Jörgen W. Weibull, 2012. "Homo Moralis: Preference Evolution under Incomplete Information and Assortative Matching," Carleton Economic Papers 12-01, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 14 May 2012.
    5. Alger, Ingela & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2014. "Evolution leads to Kantian morality," IAST Working Papers 14-10, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST), revised Jun 2015.
    6. Lancia, Francesco & Russo, Alessia, 2010. "A Dynamic Politico-Economic Model of Intergenerational Contracts," MPRA Paper 24795, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Pierre Dubois & Rachel Griffith & Aviv Nevo, 2014. "Do Prices and Attributes Explain International Differences in Food Purchases?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 832-867, March.
    8. Pierre Dubois & Rachel Griffith & Aviv Nevo, 2014. "Do Prices and Attributes Explain International Differences in Food Purchases?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 832-867, March.
    9. repec:eee:gamebe:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:260-276 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Ingela Alger & Jörgen W. Weibull, 2013. "Homo Moralis—Preference Evolution Under Incomplete Information and Assortative Matching," Econometrica, Econometric Society, pages 2269-2302.
    11. Alger, Ingela & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2014. "Evolution leads to Kantian morality," TSE Working Papers 14-504, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Jun 2015.
    12. Ingela Alger & Jörgen W. Weibull, 2010. "Evolutionary Stability, Co-operation and Hamilton’s Rule," Carleton Economic Papers 10-11, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 18 Jan 2011.
    13. Ingela Alger & Donald Cox, 2013. "The evolution of altruistic preferences: mothers versus fathers," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, pages 421-446.
    14. repec:aia:ginidp:dp17 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Zaiceva, Anzelika & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2012. "Returning Home at Times of Trouble? Return Migration of EU Enlargement Migrants during the Crisis," IZA Discussion Papers 7111, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Alger, Ingela & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2016. "Evolution and Kantian morality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, pages 56-67.
    17. Giacomo Corneo, 2011. "GINI DP 17: Income Inequality, Value Systems and Macroeconomic Performance," GINI Discussion Papers 17, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    18. Hideaki Goto, 2017. "How does socio-economic environment influence the distribution of altruism?," Theory and Decision, Springer, pages 93-116.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation

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