IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Comparative statics of altruism and spite

  • Milchtaich, Igal
Registered author(s):

    The equilibrium outcome of a strategic interaction may depend on the weight players place on other playersʼ payoffs or, more generally, on some social payoff that depends on everyoneʼs actions. A positive, negative or zero weight represents altruism, spite or complete selfishness, respectively. As it turns out, even in a symmetric interaction the equilibrium level of social payoff may be lower for a group of altruists than for selfish or spiteful groups. In particular, a concern for othersʼ payoffs may paradoxically lower these payoffs. However, this can only be so if the equilibrium strategies involved are unstable. If they are stable, the social payoff can only increase or remain unchanged with an increasing degree of altruism. In these results, ‘stability’ stands for a general notion of static stability, which includes a number of established ones, such as evolutionarily stable strategy, as special cases.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

    Volume (Year): 75 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 809-831

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:75:y:2012:i:2:p:809-831
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Edgeworth, Francis Ysidro, 1881. "Mathematical Psychics," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number edgeworth1881.
    2. Morgan John & Steiglitz Ken & Reis George, 2003. "The Spite Motive and Equilibrium Behavior in Auctions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-27, April.
    3. Kockesen, Levent & Ok, Efe A. & Sethi, Rajiv, 1997. "The Strategic Advantage of Negatively Interdependent Preferences," Working Papers 97-34, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    4. Bester, H. & Güth, W., 1994. "Is altruism evolutionarily stable ?," Discussion Paper 1994-103, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    5. Ted Bergstrom, . "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," Papers _023, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
    6. Milchtaich, Igal, 2004. "Social optimality and cooperation in nonatomic congestion games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 56-87, January.
    7. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. David K. Levine, 1998. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 593-622, July.
    9. Dixit, Avinash K, 1986. "Comparative Statics for Oligopoly," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 107-22, February.
    10. Bernheim, B Douglas & Stark, Oded, 1988. "Altruism within the Family Reconsidered: Do Nice Guys Finish Last?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1034-45, December.
    11. Stark, Oded, 1989. "Altruism and the Quality of Life," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 86-90, May.
    12. Myerson, Roger B. & Pollock, Gregory B. & Swinkels, Jeroen M., 1991. "Viscous population equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 101-109, February.
    13. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
    14. Geanakoplos, John & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1989. "Psychological games and sequential rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 60-79, March.
    15. Corts, Kenneth S., 2006. "When Altruism Lowers Total Welfare," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(01), pages 1-18, March.
    16. Chamberland, Marc & Cressman, Ross, 2000. "An Example of Dynamic (In)Consistency in Symmetric Extensive Form Evolutionary Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 319-326, February.
    17. Selten, Reinhard, 1983. "Evolutionary stability in extensive two-person games," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 269-363, September.
    18. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    19. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
    20. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W, 1988. "Altruism and Time Consistency: The Economics of Fait Accompli," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1165-82, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:75:y:2012:i:2:p:809-831. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.