The Evolution of Social Norms and Individual Preferences
Why does an altruistically inclined player behave altruistically in some contexts and egoistically or spitefully in others? This article provides an economic explanation to this question. The basic argument is centered on the idea that social norms shape our preferences through a process of cultural learning. In particular, we claim that, in contexts with a stable norm of reciprocity, an altruistic player can respond in kind to egoistic or spiteful players by behaving either egoistically or spitefully when confronting them and yet continue to be an altruistic player. This is why, instead of studying the evolution of preferences as such, in this work we analyze the evolution of social norms that indirectly determine individual preferences and behavior. Such a study requires that we distinguish between players' behavioral preferences, or those individuals show with their behavior, and players' intrinsic preferences, or those they inherently support or favor. We argue that, whereas the former can change through the evolution of social norms, in this case a reciprocity norm, the latter are not subject to evolutionary pressures and, therefore, we assume them to be given.
|Date of creation:||2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (562) 354-4303
Fax: (562) 553-1664
Web page: http://www.economia.puc.cl
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- van Damme, E.E.C., 1993.
"Evolutionary game theory,"
1993-75, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ioe:doctra:333. 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: (Jaime Casassus)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.