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Gift Giving and the Evolution of Cooperation

  • H. Lorne Carmichael

    (Queen's University)

  • W. Bentley MacLeod

    (Boston College)

Gift giving is a practice common to many societies. In an evolutionary model the social custom of giving gifts at the beginning of a relationship can lead to trust and cooperation. The evolutionary approach makes predictions about the character of the goods that can be used as gifts. For example, gift goods may have little use value even at low levels of consumption. Although the gifts themselves are useless, the institution is not.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 338..

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Length: 35 pages Classification- JEL:
Date of creation: 01 Jan 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:338
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  1. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
  2. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1989. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 447-80, March.
  3. Binmore, K. & Samuelson, L., 1990. "Evolutionary Stability In Repeated Games Played By Finite Automata," Working papers 90-29, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. Matsui, Akihiko, 1991. "Cheap-talk and cooperation in a society," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 245-258, August.
  5. Binmore, Kenneth G. & Samuelson, Larry, 1992. "Evolutionary stability in repeated games played by finite automata," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 278-305, August.
  6. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  7. D. Fudenberg & E. Maskin, 2010. "Evolution and Cooperation in Noisy Repeated Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 546, David K. Levine.
  8. van Damme, Eric, 1989. "Stable equilibria and forward induction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 476-496, August.
  9. Karl H. Schlag, 1994. "When Does Evolution Lead to Efficiency in Communication Games?," Discussion Paper Serie B 299, University of Bonn, Germany.
  10. Lorne Carmichael, 1981. "Firm-Specific Human Capital and Promotion Ladders," Working Papers 452, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  11. Blume, A. & Kim, Y.G. & Sobel, J., 1992. "Evolutionary Stability in Games of Communication," Working Papers 92-17, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  12. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
  13. Robson, A.J., 1989. "Efficiency In Evolutionary Games: Darwin, Nash And Secret Handshake," Papers 89-22, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  14. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, December.
  15. Akihiko Matsui, 1989. "Cheap Talk and Cooperation in the Society," Discussion Papers 848, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1989. "Self-Enforcing Contracts, Shirking, and Life Cycle Incentives," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 65-83, Fall.
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