Evolutionary Models of Preference Formation

Posted: 4 Sep 2019

See all articles by Ingela Alger

Ingela Alger

University of Toulouse 1 - Toulouse School of Economics (TSE); University of Angers - French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)

Jorgen W. Weibull

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: August 2019

Abstract

The literature on the evolution of preferences of individuals in strategic interactions is vast and diverse. We organize the discussion around the following question: Supposing that material outcomes drive evolutionary success, under what circumstances does evolution promote , defined as material self-interest, and when does it instead lead to other preferences? The literature suggests that is favored by evolution only when individuals’ preferences are their private information and the population is large and well-mixed, so that individuals with rare mutant preferences almost never get to interact with each other. If rare mutants instead interact more often (say, due to local dispersion), then evolution instead favors a certain generalization of including a Kantian concern. If individuals interact under complete information about preferences, then evolution destabilizes in virtually all games.

Suggested Citation

Alger, Ingela and Weibull, Jorgen W., Evolutionary Models of Preference Formation (August 2019). Annual Review of Economics, Vol. 11, pp. 329-354, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3445901 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-economics-080218-030255

Ingela Alger

University of Toulouse 1 - Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) ( email )

Place Anatole-France
Toulouse Cedex, F-31042
France

University of Angers - French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) ( email )

3, rue Michel-Ange
Paris cedex 16, 75794
France

Jorgen W. Weibull (Contact Author)

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
Sveavagen 65
S-113 83 Stockholm
Sweden

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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