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Endogenous Social Preferences, Heterogeneity and Cooperation

  • Zarri, Luca

    ()

    (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)

We set up an analytical framework focusing on the problem of interaction over time when economic agents are characterized by various types of distributional social preferences. We develop an evolutionary approach in which individual preferences are endogenous and account for the evolution of cooperation when all the players are initially entirely selfish. In particular, within motivationally heterogeneous agents embedded in a social network, we adopt a variant of the indirect evolutionary approach, where material payoffs play a critical role, and assume that a coevolutionary process occurs in which subjective preferences gradually evolve due to a key mechanism involving behavioral choices, relational intensity and degree of social openness. The simulations we carried out led to strongly consistent results with regard to the evolution of player types, the dynamics of material payoffs, the creation of significant interpersonal relationships among agents and the frequency of cooperation. In the long run, cooperation turns out to be the strategic choice that obtains the best performances, in terms of material payoffs, and "nice guys", far from finishing last, succeed in coming out ahead.

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Paper provided by Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit in its series AICCON Working Papers with number 51-2008.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 24 Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:aiccon:2008_051
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  1. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
  2. Stahl, Dale O. & Haruvy, Ernan, 2006. "Other-regarding preferences: Egalitarian warm glow, empathy, and group size," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 20-41, September.
  3. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," General Economics and Teaching 0303002, EconWPA.
  5. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  6. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(3), pages 905-950, August.
  7. Ariel Rubinstein, 1997. "Finite automata play the repeated prisioners dilemma," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1639, David K. Levine.
  8. Avner Shaked & Ilan Eshel & Emilia Sansone, 1999. "The emergence of kinship behavior in structured populations of unrelated individuals," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 447-463.
  9. Singer, Tania & Fehr, Ernst, 2005. "The Neuroeconomics of Mind Reading and Empathy," IZA Discussion Papers 1647, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Erlei, Mathias, 2008. "Heterogeneous social preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 436-457, March.
  11. Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs & Kosfeld, Michael, 2005. "Neuroeconomic Foundations of Trust and Social Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 1641, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Alexander, Sidney S, 1974. "Social Evaluation through Notional Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 597-624, November.
  13. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher & Michael Kosfeld, 2005. "Neuroeconomic Foundations of Trust and Social Preferences: Initial Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 346-351, May.
  14. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
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