Economic Games Among the Amazonian Tsimane: Exploring the Roles of Market Access, Costs of Giving, and Cooperation on Pro-Social Game Behavior
This paper reports the results of the Ultimatum Game (UG), Dictator Game (DG) and Public Goods Game (PGG) played among the Tsimane, a group of forager-horticulturalists living in the Bolivian Amazon. Game results differ significantly from those commonly reported among modern, westernized populations. Without a long history of anonymous interactions, it is highly suspect whether the Tsimane or other traditional populations play economic games under assumptions of anonymity and one-shot exposure. Employing a behavioral ecology framework, I test predictions that differential market exposure, costs of giving, and experience with cooperation can help explain much of the variance in game outcomes. While these factors sometimes act as important predictors of game behavior, the most significant predictor is village membership. Implications for understanding the role of markets, frequent interaction with strangers, and payoffs to cooperation in daily life can help us better understand cross-cultural variation in pro-social behavior. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004
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