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The emergence of kinship behavior in structured populations of unrelated individuals


  • Avner Shaked

    () (Economics Department, Bonn University, 24 Adenauerallee, D-53113 Bonn, Germany)

  • Ilan Eshel

    (Department of Statistics, School of Mathematical Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel)

  • Emilia Sansone

    (Department of Mathematics and its Applications, University of Naples, I-80138 Naples, Italy)


The paper provides an explanation for altruistic behavior based on the matching and learning technology in the population. In a infinite structured population, in which individuals meet and interact with their neighbors, individuals learn by imitating their more successful neighbors. We ask which strategies are robust against invasion of mutants: A strategy is unbeatable if when all play it and a finite group of identical mutants enters then the learning process eliminates the mutants with probability 1. We find that such an unbeatable strategy is necessarily one in which each individual behaves as if he is related to his neighbors and takes into account their welfare as well as his. The degree to which he cares depends on the radii of his neighborhoods.

Suggested Citation

  • Avner Shaked & Ilan Eshel & Emilia Sansone, 1999. "The emergence of kinship behavior in structured populations of unrelated individuals," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 28(4), pages 447-463.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jogath:v:28:y:1999:i:4:p:447-463 Note: Received June 1996/Revised version October 1998

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gale, D. & Mas-Colell, A., 1975. "An equilibrium existence theorem for a general model without ordered preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 9-15, March.
    2. Crawford, Vincent P., 1990. "Equilibrium without independence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 127-154, February.
    3. Osborne, Martin J & Rubinstein, Ariel, 1998. "Games with Procedurally Rational Players," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 834-847, September.
    4. Robert Aumann & Adam Brandenburger, 2014. "Epistemic Conditions for Nash Equilibrium," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Language of Game Theory Putting Epistemics into the Mathematics of Games, chapter 5, pages 113-136 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Alcantud, J. C. R., 2002. "Non-binary choice in a non-deterministic model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 117-123, September.
    6. Shafer, Wayne & Sonnenschein, Hugo, 1975. "Equilibrium in abstract economies without ordered preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 345-348, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Evelyn Gick, Wolfgang Gick, 2000. "Hayek's Theory of Cultural Evolution Revisited: Rules, Morality, and the Sensory Order," Working Paper Series B 2000-01, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultïät.
    2. Boyer, Tristan & Jonard, Nicolas, 2014. "Imitation and efficient contagion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 20-32.
    3. van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M. & Gowdy, John M., 2009. "A group selection perspective on economic behavior, institutions and organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 1-20, October.
    4. Alexander Tieman & Harold Houba & Gerard Laan, 2000. "On the level of cooperative behavior in a local-interaction model," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 71(1), pages 1-30, February.
    5. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 2002. "Evolution of Social Behavior: Individual and Group Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 67-88, Spring.
    6. Zarri, Luca, 2008. "Endogenous Social Preferences, Heterogeneity and Cooperation," AICCON Working Papers 51-2008, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
    7. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-052 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Ludo Waltman & Nees Eck & Rommert Dekker & Uzay Kaymak, 2013. "An Evolutionary Model of Price Competition Among Spatially Distributed Firms," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 42(4), pages 373-391, December.
    9. Evelyn Gick & Wolfgang Gick, 2001. "F.A. Hayek’s theory of mind and theory of cultural evolution revisited: Toward and integrated perspective," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 2(1), pages 149-162, March.
    10. Tristan Boyer & Nicolas Jonard, 2014. "Imitation and Efficient Contagion," Working Papers 2014-52, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
    11. Angelo Antoci & Pier Sacco & Luca Zarri, 2004. "Coexistence of Strategies and Culturally-Specific Common Knowledge: An Evolutionary Analysis," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 165-194, May.
    12. Bergstrom, Ted, 2001. "Evolution of Social Behavior: Individual and Group Selection Models," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt2bh2x16r, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.


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