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Reciprocity—an indirect evolutionary analysis

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  • Siegfried Berninghaus
  • Christian Korth
  • Stefan Napel

Abstract

This paper investigates strategic interaction between rational agents whose preferences evolve over time. Players face a pecuniary 'game of life' comprising the ultimatum game and the dictator game. Utility may but need not be attached to the reciprocation of fair and unfair play by the opponent and equitable payoff distributions as proposed by Falk and Fischbacher (2001). Evolutionary fitness is determined solely by material success - regardless of the motives for its achievement. Agents cannot explicitly condition the social component of their preferences on whether they face the ultimatum or dictator game. Under these conditions, agents develop a strong preference for reciprocation but little interest in an equitable distribution as such. This corresponds to equitable ultimatum offers but full surplus appropriation by dictators. Adding an exogenous constraint on the possible divergence between preference for reciprocation and for an equitable distribution either makes ultimatum divisions asymmetric or dictators become generous depending on the relative frequency of ultimatum and dictator interaction.
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  • Siegfried Berninghaus & Christian Korth & Stefan Napel, 2007. "Reciprocity—an indirect evolutionary analysis," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 579-603, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:17:y:2007:i:5:p:579-603
    DOI: 10.1007/s00191-006-0053-1
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    2. William D. Ferguson & Trang Kieu Nguyen, 2014. "Social Context and the Spread of HIV: An Evolutionary Game-Theoretic Investigation on the Impacts of Social Stigma on Epidemic Outcomes," Economies, MDPI, vol. 2(3), pages 1-22, August.
    3. Schliffke, Philipp, 2012. "The co-evolution of reciprocity-based wage offers and effort choices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 326-329.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Reciprocity; Evolutionary stability; Fairness; C78; C90;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General

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