Half-Hearted Cooperation: A Theory of the Evolution of Altruistic Preferences
22 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2013
Date Written: March 16, 2013
This paper presents an evolutionary model in which altruists and egoists simultaneously survive natural selection. Successive generations of randomly paired agents play a two-stage game consisting first of a choice of technology and second a choice of effort level. This setting induces a form of cooperation if at least one of the pair is an altruist but not when both are egoists. As a result, in the population steady state there is a positive fraction of both types of agent that is a function of the technology and of the altruists’ degree of regard for their opponents.
Keywords: Altruism, Cooperation, Economics and Biology, Evolution of Preferences, Contribution and Free-Riding, Prisoners’ Dilemma, Technology Adoption
JEL Classification: D64, D74, H41, O33, L23
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