An Evolutionary Explanation for Rotten Kids
Economic Inquiry, Volume XXXVI, Number 1, January 1998
Posted: 20 Jul 1998
We explore how natural selection acts upon genes for cooperation, altruism and selfishness in an prisoner's dilemma played by family members. A key parameter determining behavior is that parents and children have different expectations of future offspring. Examining asexual and sexually reproducing populations we show that which strategy of cooperation and defection proves be stable depends on the relative reproduction potential of the players and what proportion of the population is young. "Rotten kids" with altruistic parents can be a stable outcome where reproductive success is the goal, and natural selection may lead individuals to care about their unborn progeny.
JEL Classification: D10, H31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation