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The Build-up of Cooperative Behavior among Non-cooperative Agents

  • Hassan Benchekroun
  • Ngo Van Long

We develop a theoretical model in which each individual is, in some ultimate sense, motivated by purely egoistic satisfaction derived from the goods accruing to him, but there is an implicit social contract such that each performs duties for the others in a way that enhances the satisfaction of all. We introduce a state variable that acts as a proxy for social capital of trustworthiness and that we call the stock of cooperation. We show that noncooperative agents might condition their action on this state variable. Agents build-up the society's stock of cooperation and gradually overcome the free riding problem in a game of private contribution to a public good. We assume that there are neither penalties in the sense of trigger strategies, nor guilt and that each individual is rational. Nous développons un modèle théorique dans lequel les individus sont motivés par la satisfaction égoïste que leur procure l'accumulation de biens, mais où le contrat social incite chaque individu à travailler pour les autres afin d'accroître le bien-être collectif. Nous introduisons une variable d'état représentant le stock de capital social, ou « stock de coopération ». Nous démontrons que cette variable peut influencer les actions des agents non-coopératifs. Les agents accumulent le stock de coopération de la société et réussisent à règler de manière progressive le problème du passager clandestin pour un jeu de contributions privées dans un bien public. Nous supposons qu'il n'existe pas de stratégies de pénalité, de sentiment de culpabilité chez les individus et que chaque agent est rationnel.

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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2006s-17.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2006s-17
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  1. Marx, Leslie M & Matthews, Steven A, 2000. "Dynamic Voluntary Contribution to a Public Project," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(2), pages 327-58, April.
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