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On the coevolution of social norms in primitive societies

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  • L. Bagnoli
  • G. Negroni

Abstract

Two parties bargaining over a pie, the size of which is determined by their previous investment decisions. The bargaining rule is sensitive to investment behavior. Two games are considered. In both, bargaining proceeds according to the Nash Demand Game when a symmetric investments profile is observed. When, on the other hand, an asymmetric investments profile is observed, we assume that bargaining proceeds according to the Ultimatum Game in one case and according to a Dictator Game in the other. We hereby show that in both games when a unique stochastically stable outcome exists it supports an homogeneous behavior in the whole population both at the investment stage and at the distribution stage. A norm of investment and a norm of division must therefore coevolve in the two games, supporting both the efficient investment profile and the egalitarian distribution of the surplus, respectively. The two games differ depending on the conditions needed for the two norms to coevolve. The games are proposed to explain the social norms used in modern hunter-gatherer societies.

Suggested Citation

  • L. Bagnoli & G. Negroni, 2012. "On the coevolution of social norms in primitive societies," Working Papers wp858, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  • Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp858
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Glenn Ellison, 2000. "Basins of Attraction, Long-Run Stochastic Stability, and the Speed of Step-by-Step Evolution," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 17-45.
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    6. Herbert Dawid and Bentley MacLeod, 2001. "Holdup and the Evolution of Bargaining Conventions," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 104, Society for Computational Economics.
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    12. Matthew J. Baker & Kurtis Swope, 2004. "Sharing, Gift-Giving, and Optimal Resource Use Incentives in Hunter-Gatherer Society," Departmental Working Papers 8, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    13. Troger, Thomas, 2002. "Why Sunk Costs Matter for Bargaining Outcomes: An Evolutionary Approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 375-402, February.
    14. P. Young, 1999. "The Evolution of Conventions," Levine's Working Paper Archive 485, David K. Levine.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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