Religion as a Seed Crystal for Altruistic Cooperation
The ability to solve problems of collective action is crucial for economic performance. Growth-fostering behavioral propensities such as respecting property, honoring contracts, or helping others are collectively beneficial but individually costly. The paradigmatic formalization of this rationality gap is provided by the non-iterated Prisoners’ Dilemma, where rational players are locked in at a state of mutual defection while mutual cooperation would be better for everyone. In sporadic, ex-ante anonymous interactions (like in modern large-scale societies), the ‘shadow of the future’ cannot sustain cooperation. Cooperation must be altruistic, in the sense that a cooperator enhances her opponent’s payoff at her own expense. In this piece of work another group selection mechanism is presented that generates and sustains altruism in ex-ante anonymous settings. Assuming that cooperative attitudes are coupled with a preference for participating in costly rituals (religious involvement is taken as an example), interactions take place within two endogenously separated groups. The signaling value of religion in the model derives not from differential costliness but from cooperators’ intrinsic nature of motivation. Noncooperative types have to learn about the matching gains from religious involvement while cooperative types need not. This induces an initial advantage to cooperative/religious types at the beginning of each generation, thereby sustaining altruism in the long run via religious participation.
|Date of creation:||24 Jul 2006|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstr. 28, 80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: http://www.vwl.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- James W. Friedman, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(1), pages 1-12.
- Hauk, Esther, 2001. "Leaving the Prison: Permitting Partner Choice and Refusal in Prisoner's Dilemma Games," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 18(1), pages 65-87, August.
- Tan, Jonathan H.W. & Vogel, Claudia, 2008.
"Religion and trust: An experimental study,"
Journal of Economic Psychology,
Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 832-848, December.
- Tan, Jonathan H. W. & Vogel, Claudia, 2005. "Religion and trust: an experimental study," Discussion Papers 240, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Department of Business Administration and Economics.
- Dan Ashlock & Mark D. Smucker & E. Ann Stanley & Leigh Tesfatsion, 1995. "Preferential Partner Selection in an Evolutionary Study of Prisoner's Dilemma," Game Theory and Information 9501002, EconWPA, revised 20 Jan 1995.
- Ashlock, Daniel & Smucker, Mark D. & Stanley, E. Ann & Tesfatsion, Leigh S., 1996. "Preferential Partner Selection in an Evolutionary Study of Prisoner's Dilemma," Staff General Research Papers Archive 1687, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- Henrich, Joseph, 2004. "Cultural group selection, coevolutionary processes and large-scale cooperation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 3-35, January.
- Harvey James, 2002. "The Trust Paradox: A Survey of Economic Inquiries Into the Nature of Trust and Trustworthiness," Microeconomics 0202001, EconWPA.
- Guttman, Joel M., 2000. "On the evolutionary stability of preferences for reciprocity," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 31-50, March.
- Ockenfels, Peter, 1993. "Cooperation in prisoners' dilemma : An evolutionary approach," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 567-579, November.
- Robert J. Barro & Rachel McCleary, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 9682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Schlicht, Ekkehart, . "Economic Analysis and Organised Religion," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
- Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
- Ekkehart Schlicht, 2002. "Reflections and Diffractions: Schlicht Replies to His Critics," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 571-594, 04.
- Ben Cooper & Chris Wallace, 2004. "Group selection and the evolution of altruism," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 307-330, April.
- Cooper, B. & Wallace, C., 2001. "Group Selection And The Evolution Of Altruism," Economics Series Working Papers 9967, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Leigh Tesfatsion, 2002. "Agent-Based Computational Economics," Computational Economics 0203001, EconWPA, revised 15 Aug 2002.
- Sethi, Rajiv, 1996. "Evolutionary stability and social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 113-140, January.
- Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lmu:dissen:5788. 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: (Tamilla Benkelberg)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.