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Understanding reciprocity

Author

Listed:
  • Rajiv Sethi

    () (Columbia University)

  • E.Somanathan

    () (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi)

Abstract

This paper surveys the evolutionary game theoretic literature on reciprocity in human interactions, dealing both with long-term relationships and with sporadic interactions. Four basic themes, repetition, commitment, assortation, and parochialism, appear repeatedly throughout the literature. Repetition can give rise to the evolution of behavior that exhibits reciprocity-like features but a vast array of other behaviors are also stable. In sporadic interactions, reciprocity can be stable if the propensity to punish selfish actions can induce opportunists to cooperate, if reciprocators themselves behave opportunistically when they expect others to do so, or if matching is sufficiently assortative.

Suggested Citation

  • Rajiv Sethi & E.Somanathan, 2002. "Understanding reciprocity," Discussion Papers 02-05, Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi.
  • Handle: RePEc:alo:isipdp:02-05
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    File URL: http://www.isid.ac.in/~pu/dispapers/dp02-05.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Reciprocity; Evolution; Assortation; Commitment; Parochialism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities

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