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When in Rome, do as the Romans do: the coevolution of altruistic punishment, conformist learning, and cooperation

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  • Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés
  • Rodríguez-Sickert, Carlos
  • Rowthorn, Robert

Abstract

We model the coevolution of behavioral strategies and social learning rules in the context of a cooperative dilemma, a situation in which individuals must decide whether or not to subordinate their own interests to those of the group. There are two learning rules in our model, conformism and payoff-dependent imitation, which evolve by natural selection, and three behavioral strategies, cooperate, defect, and cooperate plus punish defectors, which evolve under the influence of the prevailing learning rules. Group and individual level selective pressures drive evolution. We also simulate our model for conditions that approximate those in which early hominids lived. We find that conformism can evolve when the only problem that individuals face is a cooperative dilemma, in which prosocial behavior is always costly to the individual. Furthermore, the presence of conformists dramatically increases the group size for which cooperation can be sustained. The results of our model are robust: they hold even when migration rates are high, and when conflict among groups is infrequent.

Suggested Citation

  • Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés & Rodríguez-Sickert, Carlos & Rowthorn, Robert, 2006. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do: the coevolution of altruistic punishment, conformist learning, and cooperation," MPRA Paper 2037, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:2037
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/2037/1/MPRA_paper_2037.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    2. 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.
    3. Ostrom, Elinor & Walker, James & Gardner, Roy, 1992. "Covenants with and without a Sword: Self-Governance Is Possible," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 86(2), pages 404-417, June.
    4. Marcus W. Feldman & Kenichi Aoki & Jochen Kumm, 1996. "Individual Versus Social Learning: Evolutionary Analysis in a Fluctuating Environment," Working Papers 96-05-030, Santa Fe Institute.
    5. Samuel Bowles & Astrid Hopfensitz, 2000. "The Co-evolution of Individual Behaviors and Social Institutions," Working Papers 00-12-073, Santa Fe Institute.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vera Belaya & Jon Henrich Hanf, 2016. "The dark and the bright side of power: implications for the management of business-to-business relationships," Agricultural and Food Economics, Springer;Italian Society of Agricultural Economics (SIDEA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-17, December.
    2. Tetsushi Ohdaira & Takao Terano, 2009. "Cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma Game Based on the Second-Best Decision," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 12(4), pages 1-7.
    3. Wolff, Irenaeus, 2009. "Counterpunishment revisited: an evolutionary approach," MPRA Paper 16923, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Hajime Shimao & Mayuko Nakamaru, 2013. "Strict or Graduated Punishment? Effect of Punishment Strictness on the Evolution of Cooperation in Continuous Public Goods Games," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 8(3), pages 1-10, March.
    5. Salomonsson, Marcus, 2009. "Group Selection: The quest for social preferences," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 712, Stockholm School of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Evolution of behavior; Social learning; Cooperation; Conformism; Altruistic punishment; Public good games;

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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