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On the Evolution of Individualistic Preferences: Complete Versus Incomplete Information Scenarios


  • Ok, E.A.
  • Vega-Redondo, F.


We study the evolution of preferences via payoff monotonic dynamics in strategic environments with and without complete information. It is shown that, with complete information and subgroup matching, empirically plausible interdependent preference relations may entail the local instability of individualistic preferences (which target directly the maximization of material payoffs/fitness). The said instability may even be global if the subgroup size is large enough. In contrast, under incomplete information (unobservability of preference types), we show that independent preferences are globally stable in a large set of environments, and locally stable in essentially any standard environment, provided that the number of subgroups that form in thesociety is large. Since these results are obtained within the context of a very general model, they may be thought of as providing an evolutionary rationale for the prevalence of individualistic preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Ok, E.A. & Vega-Redondo, F., 1999. "On the Evolution of Individualistic Preferences: Complete Versus Incomplete Information Scenarios," Working Papers 99-07, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cvs:starer:99-07

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin Ravallion & Gaurav Datt, 1995. "Is Targeting Through a Work Requirement Efficient? Some Evidence for Rural India," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-41, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    2. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Are the poor less well insured? Evidence on vulnerability to income risk in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 61-81, February.
    3. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-591, May.
    4. repec:pri:rpdevs:morduch_microfinance_poor is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
    6. Navajas, Sergio & Schreiner, Mark & Meyer, Richard L. & Gonzalez-vega, Claudio & Rodriguez-meza, Jorge, 2000. "Microcredit and the Poorest of the Poor: Theory and Evidence from Bolivia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 333-346, February.
    7. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker, 1998. "The Impact of Group-Based Credit Programs on Poor Households in Bangladesh: Does the Gender of Participants Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 958-996, October.
    8. Anderson, Gordon, 1996. "Nonparametric Tests of Stochastic Dominance in Income Distributions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1183-1193, September.
    9. Quentin Wodon, 1997. "Food energy intake and cost of basic needs: Measuring poverty in Bangladesh," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(2), pages 66-101.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aviad Heifetz & Yossef Spiegel, 2000. "On the Evolutionary Emergence of Optimism," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1649, Econometric Society.

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    JEL classification:

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


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