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Evolution and Kantian morality

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  • Alger, Ingela
  • Weibull, Jörgen W.

Abstract

What kind of preferences should one expect evolution to favor? We propose a definition of evolutionary stability of preferences in interactions in groups of arbitrary finite size. Groups are formed under random matching that may be assortative. Individuals' preferences are their private information. The set of potential preferences are all those that can be represented by continuous functions. We show that a certain class of such preferences, that combine self-interest with morality of a Kantian flavor, are evolutionarily stable, and that preferences resulting in other behaviors are evolutionarily unstable. We also establish a connection between evolutionary stability of preferences and a generalized version of Maynard Smith's and Price's (1973) notion of evolutionary stability of strategies.

Suggested Citation

  • Alger, Ingela & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2016. "Evolution and Kantian morality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 56-67.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:98:y:2016:i:c:p:56-67
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2016.05.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:eecrev:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:31-42 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Alger, Ingela & Lehmann, Laurent & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2018. "Uninvadable social behaviors and preferences in group-structured populations," TSE Working Papers 18-888, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    3. repec:eee:eecrev:v:102:y:2018:i:c:p:1-18 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Preference evolution; Evolutionary stability; Assortativity; Morality; Homo moralis; Social preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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