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Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality

  • Herbert Gintis

    ()

    (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

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.

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File URL: http://www.umass.edu/economics/publications/econ2000_02.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics in its series UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers with number 2000-02.

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Date of creation: 11 Mar 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2000-02
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  1. Jonathan P. Thomas & Robert Evans, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment," Game Theory and Information 0004002, EconWPA.
  2. 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.
  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.
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