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Reciprocita' e free riding: un’analisi evolutiva


  • Camilla Sandri

    () (Alfa Wassermann S.p.A.)

  • Luca Zarri

    () (Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Verona)


In the lab, in both one-shot interactions and first rounds of repeated games, subjects turn out to cooperate significantly more than the well-known, classical Homo Oeconomicus model predicts. Behavioural economics has persuasively shown that this ‘irrational’ rate of cooperation is compatible with the presence of reciprocity on the part of some of the individuals involved in the group. At the same time, a sizeable proportion of players act selfishly, failing to cooperate from the outset. However, so far we lack theoretical models accounting for such stable coexistence of free riders and reciprocators. Our work, by means of an evolutionary analysis of the Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) game, provides an endogenisation of such motivational heterogeneity and, under certain conditions, sheds light on the evolutionary stability of two-type populations consisting of positive proportions of egoists and reciprocators.

Suggested Citation

  • Camilla Sandri & Luca Zarri, 2009. "Reciprocita' e free riding: un’analisi evolutiva," Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, Vita e Pensiero, Pubblicazioni dell'Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, vol. 117(2), pages 251-272.
  • Handle: RePEc:vep:journl:y:2009:v:117:i:2:p:251-272

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pierre Cahuc & André Zylberberg, 2004. "Labor Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026203316x, July.
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    5. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
    6. Andolfatto, David, 1996. "Business Cycles and Labor-Market Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 112-132, March.
    7. Arthur J. Hosios, 1990. "On The Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 279-298.
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    More about this item


    Free riding; reciprocity; cooperation; evolutionary game theory;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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