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Public Goods Games, Altruism, and Evolution

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Abstract

How can a desire to cooperate in one-shot interactions survive, even though it gives a material disadvantage to its carrier? I analyze this issue using a one-shot public goods game between two altruistic individuals. Within a pair, the least altruistic individual is better off materially. Between pairs, individuals in the pair with the highest degree of altruism are better off materially. I determine the evolutionarily stable degree of altruism, allowing for assortative matching. The stable degree of altruism is strictly smaller than the degree of assortativity, and it may be negative. It is also increasing in the degree of assortativity. For a given degree of assortativity, the stable degree of altruism depends on the relative strength of the within-pair and the between-group e¤ect on material welfare. This relative strength in turn depends on the production and cost functions in the underlying public goods game.

Suggested Citation

  • Ingela Alger, 2009. "Public Goods Games, Altruism, and Evolution," Carleton Economic Papers 09-06, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 01 Feb 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:car:carecp:09-06
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alger, Ingela & Lehmann, Laurent & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2018. "Uninvadable social behaviors and preferences in group-structured populations," IAST Working Papers 18-73, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    2. repec:eee:gamebe:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:260-276 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Wu, Jiabin, 2016. "Political Institutions and Preference Evolution," MPRA Paper 69597, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Alger, Ingela & Lehmann, Laurent & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2018. "Uninvadable social behaviors and preferences in group-structured populations," TSE Working Papers 18-888, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    5. Ingela Alger & Donald Cox, 2013. "The evolution of altruistic preferences: mothers versus fathers," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 421-446, September.
    6. repec:aia:ginidp:dp17 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Baland, Jean-Marie & Bonjean, Isabelle & Guirkinger, Catherine & Ziparo, Roberta, 2016. "The economic consequences of mutual help in extended families," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 38-56.
    8. Ennio Bilancini & Leonardo Boncinelli & Jiabin Wuz, 2016. "The Interplay of Cultural Aversion and Assortativity for the Emergence of Cooperation," Department of Economics 0084, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    9. Ingela Alger & Jörgen W. Weibull, 2013. "Homo Moralis—Preference Evolution Under Incomplete Information and Assortative Matching," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(6), pages 2269-2302, November.
    10. Alger, Ingela & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2014. "Evolution leads to Kantian morality," IAST Working Papers 14-10, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST), revised Jun 2015.
    11. Alger, Ingela & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2016. "Evolution and Kantian morality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 56-67.
    12. Giacomo Corneo, 2011. "GINI DP 17: Income Inequality, Value Systems and Macroeconomic Performance," GINI Discussion Papers 17, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    13. Hideaki Goto, 2017. "How does socio-economic environment influence the distribution of altruism?," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 82(1), pages 93-116, January.
    14. Ingela Alger & Jörgen W. Weibull, 2010. "Evolutionary Stability, Co-operation and Hamilton’s Rule," Carleton Economic Papers 10-11, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 18 Jan 2011.
    15. Ennio Bilancini & Leonardo Boncinelli & Jiabin Wu, 2016. "The Interplay of Cultural Aversion and Assortativity for the Emergence of Cooperation," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 121, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    16. repec:wsi:igtrxx:v:19:y:2017:i:04:n:s0219198917500190 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. repec:eee:eecrev:v:102:y:2018:i:c:p:1-18 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public goods; teamwork; altruism; evolution of preferences; evolutionary stability;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation

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