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Gift Giving and the Evolution of Cooperation

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  • Carmichael, H Lorne
  • MacLeod, W Bentley

Abstract

Gift giving is a practice common to many societies. In an evolutionary model, the social custom of giving gifts at the beginning of a relationship can lead to trust and cooperation. The evolutionary approach makes predictions about the character of the goods that can be used as gifts. For example, gift goods may have little use value even at low levels of consumption. Although the gifts themselves are useless, the institution is not. Copyright 1997 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Carmichael, H Lorne & MacLeod, W Bentley, 1997. "Gift Giving and the Evolution of Cooperation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(3), pages 485-509, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:38:y:1997:i:3:p:485-509
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    References listed on IDEAS

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