Civilization and the Evolution of Short Sighted Agents

26 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2008

See all articles by Atin Basuchoudhary

Atin Basuchoudhary

Virginia Military Institute

Troy Siemers

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Samuel Allen

Virginia Military Institute

Date Written: December 19, 2008

Abstract

We model an assurance game played within a population with two types of individuals {short-sighted and foresighted}. Foresighted people have a lower discount rate than short sighted people. These phenotypes interact with each other. We define the persistent interaction of foresighted people with other foresighted people as a critical element of civilization while the interaction of short sighted people with other short sighted people as critical to the failure of civilization. We show that whether the short sighted phenotype will be an evolutionary stable strategy (and thus lead to the collapse of civilization) depends on the initial proportion of short sighted people relative to people with foresight as well as their relative discount rates. Further we explore some comparative static results that connect the probability of the game continuing and the relative size of the two discount rates to the likelihood that civilization will collapse.

Keywords: Civilization, evolution, collapse, stag hunt, foresight, discount rates

JEL Classification: C72, D74, D71, D83, Z10

Suggested Citation

Basuchoudhary, Atin and Siemers, Troy and Allen, Samuel, Civilization and the Evolution of Short Sighted Agents (December 19, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1318367 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1318367

Atin Basuchoudhary (Contact Author)

Virginia Military Institute ( email )

Department of Economics and Business
Scott Shipp Hall
Lexington, VA 24450
United States
5404647450 (Phone)

Troy Siemers

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Samuel Allen

Virginia Military Institute ( email )

Department of Economics and Business
Scott Shipp Hall
Lexington, VA 24450
United States

HOME PAGE: http://academics2.vmi.edu/ECBU/AllenSK/

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