Rationality and Society, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 65-97, 2007
51 Pages Posted: 29 May 2008
The hallmarks of cultural behavior include consistency within and across individuals, variance between populations, behavioral stickiness, and possibly suboptimal performance. In this article, we build a formal framework within which these behavioral attributes emerge from the interactions of purposive agents. We then derive mathematical results showing these behaviors are optimal given our assumptions. Our framework rests on two primary assumptions: (1) agents play ensembles of games, not just single games as is traditionally the case in evolutionary game theory models; and (2) agents have finite cognitive capacity. Our analysis combines agent-based techniques and mathematics, enabling us to explore dynamics and to prove when the behaviors produced by the agents are equilibria. Our results provide game theoretic foundations for cultural diversity and agent-based support for how cultural behavior might emerge.
Keywords: agent-based models, bounded rationality, culture, emergence, game theory
JEL Classification: C70, Z10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Bednar, Jenna and Page, Scott E., Can Game(s) Theory Explain Culture? The Emergence of Cultural Behavior within Multiple Games. Rationality and Society, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 65-97, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1138344