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An Evolutionary Approach to Explaining Cooperative Behavior by Reciprocal Incentives

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  • Guth, Werner

Abstract

Reciprocal behavior means that recipients of harm respond in kind, that is by harming the other. We try to explain why such a behavior may be rational, although the damage cannot be prevented anymore. Our main approach is the one of evolutionary stability, i.e., we will show that mutants established with incentives to reciprocate are more effective, measured in terms of (reproductive) success. The evolutionary approach is applied to a game model whose sequential decision process allows for reciprocal behavior. We allow for complete and incomplete information about reciprocal incentives. Other ways to generalize our analysis are studied only for the case of complete information.

Suggested Citation

  • Guth, Werner, 1995. "An Evolutionary Approach to Explaining Cooperative Behavior by Reciprocal Incentives," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 24(4), pages 323-344.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jogath:v:24:y:1995:i:4:p:323-44
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