Why and How Identity Should Influence Utility

40 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2006 Last revised: 29 Jan 2008

See all articles by Philipp C. Wichardt

Philipp C. Wichardt

University of Rostock - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 10, 2008


This paper provides an argument for the advantage of a preference for identity-consistent behaviour from an evolutionary point of view. Within a stylised model of social interaction, we show that the development of cooperative social norms is greatly facilitated if the agents of the society possess a preference for identity consistent behaviour. As cooperative norms have a positive impact on aggregate outcomes, we conclude that such preferences are evolutionary advantageous. Furthermore, we discuss how such a preference can be accounted for in the modelling of utility in order to account for the distinctive cooperative trait in human behaviour and show how this squares with the evidence.

Keywords: Cooperation, Evolution, Identity, Social Norms, Utility

JEL Classification: A13, C90, D01, Z13

Suggested Citation

Wichardt, Philipp C., Why and How Identity Should Influence Utility (January 10, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=878273 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.878273

Philipp C. Wichardt (Contact Author)

University of Rostock - Department of Economics ( email )

Ulmenstr. 69
Rostock, 18057

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