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Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality

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  • Herbert Gintis

    () (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Abstract

Human groups maintain a high level of sociality despite a low level of relatedness among group members. The behavioral basis of this sociality remains in doubt. This paper reviews the evidence for an empirically identifiable form of prosocial behavior in humans, which we call 'strong reciprocity,' that may in part explain human sociality. A strong reciprocator is predisposed to cooperate with others and punish non-cooperators, even when this behavior cannot be justified in terms of extended kinship or reciprocal altruism. We present a simple model, stylized but plausible, of the evolutionary emergence of strong reciprocity.

Suggested Citation

  • Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2000-02
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    File URL: http://www.umass.edu/economics/publications/econ2000_02.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Why free ride? : Strategies and learning in public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, December.
    2. Evans, Robert & Thomas, Jonathan P, 2001. "Cooperation and Punishment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1061-1075, July.
    3. Guth, Werner & Tietz, Reinhard, 1990. "Ultimatum bargaining behavior : A survey and comparison of experimental results," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 417-449, September.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:80:y:1986:i:04:p:1171-1185_18 is not listed on IDEAS
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