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Evolutionary Stability of Kantian Optimization


  • Philip A. Curry

    (Department of Economics, University of Waterloo)

  • John E. Roemer

    (Departments of Political Science and Economics, Yale University)


In Nash equilibrium, agents are autarchic in their optimization protocol, whereas in Kantian equilibrium, they optimize in an interdependent way. Typically, researchers into the evolution of homo economicus treat preferences as being determined by selective adaptation, but hold fixed the optimization protocol as autarchic. Here, we ask whether natural selection might choose the optimizing protocol to be either autarchic or interdependent. That is, will Kantian players, for whom the stable concept is Kantian equilibrium drive Nash players (for whom the stable concept is Nash equilibrium) to extinction, or otherwise? The answer depends upon whether players can signal their type to others.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip A. Curry & John E. Roemer, 2012. "Evolutionary Stability of Kantian Optimization," Working Papers 1206, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:wat:wpaper:1206

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nick Netzer, 2009. "Evolution of Time Preferences and Attitudes toward Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 937-955, June.
    2. Curry, Philip A., 2001. "Decision Making under Uncertainty and the Evolution of Interdependent Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 357-369, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roemer, John E., 2015. "Kantian optimization: A microfoundation for cooperation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 45-57.
    2. Alger, Ingela & Lehmann, Laurent & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2018. "Uninvadable social behaviors and preferences in group-structured populations," TSE Working Papers 18-888, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).

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    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • C62 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Existence and Stability Conditions of Equilibrium
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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