IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hrv/faseco/9962009.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Let the Right One In: A Microeconomic Approach to Partner Choice in Mutualisms

Author

Listed:
  • Fudenberg, Drew
  • Archetti, Marco
  • Green, Jerry R.
  • Pierce, Naomi Ellen
  • Yu, Douglas W.
  • Úbeda, Francisco

Abstract

One of the main problems impeding the evolution of cooperation is partner choice. When information is asymmetric (the quality of a potential partner is known only to himself), it may seem that partner choice is not possible without signaling. Many mutualisms, however, exist without signaling, and the mechanisms by which hosts might select the right partners are unclear. Here we propose a general mechanism of partner choice, "screening," that is similar to the economic theory of mechanism design. Imposing the appropriate costs and rewards may induce the informed individuals to screen themselves according to their types and therefore allow a noninformed individual to establish associations with the correct partners in the absence of signaling. Several types of biological symbioses are good candidates for screening, including bobtail squid, ant-plants, gut microbiomes, and many animal and plant species that produce reactive oxygen species. We describe a series of diagnostic tests for screening. Screening games can apply to the cases where by-products, partner fidelity feedback, or host sanctions do not apply, therefore explaining the evolution of mutualism in systems where it is impossible for potential symbionts to signal their cooperativeness beforehand and where the host does not punish symbiont misbehavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Fudenberg, Drew & Archetti, Marco & Green, Jerry R. & Pierce, Naomi Ellen & Yu, Douglas W. & Úbeda, Francisco, 2011. "Let the Right One In: A Microeconomic Approach to Partner Choice in Mutualisms," Scholarly Articles 9962009, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:9962009
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/9962009/Archetti_Let.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jon N Seal & Jeffrey Gus & Ulrich G. Mueller, 2012. "Fungus-gardening ants prefer native fungal species: do ants control their crops?," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 23(6), pages 1250-1256.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:9962009. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Office for Scholarly Communication). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/deharus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.