The Evolution of Moral Codes of Behavior

47 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2006 Last revised: 7 Oct 2009

See all articles by Christoph Kuzmics

Christoph Kuzmics

University of Graz - Department of Economics

Carlos Rodriguez-Sickert

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile; Santa Fe Institute

Date Written: October 5, 2009

Abstract

Within a standard stochastic evolutionary framework, we study the evolution of morality, both at the level of behavior and at the level of codes of behavior. These moral codes involve sanctioning deviant agents. We provide conditions under which the presence of any small degree of inter-group selection allows the emergence of moral codes which improve social efficiency. The result depends on both the efficacy of the available sanctioning technology and on the ratio of the number of members which societies are composed of to the number of societies in conflict. Group-level mutations (influential leaders, religion and collective deliberative process) can work as an inducement to the evolution of morality. We also consider the possibility that a moral code involves rewards rather than sanctions. Although no system of rewards will evolve, we show that its presence can facilitate the emergence of a sanctioning code.

Keywords: Stochastic Stability, Multi-level Selection, Evolution of Morality, Rule-guided Behavior

JEL Classification: C62, C73, Z13

Suggested Citation

Kuzmics, Christoph and Rodriguez-Sickert, Carlos, The Evolution of Moral Codes of Behavior (October 5, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=910292 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.910292

Christoph Kuzmics (Contact Author)

University of Graz - Department of Economics ( email )

Universitaetsstrasse 15
RESOWI - F4
Graz, 8010
Austria

Carlos Rodriguez-Sickert

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile ( email )

Av Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins 340
Santiago, Región Metropolitana 8331150
Chile
5626864657 (Phone)
5625521834 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.puc.cl/sociologia/carlosrodriguez.htm

Santa Fe Institute ( email )

1399 Hyde Park Road
Santa Fe, NM 87501

HOME PAGE: http://www.santafe.edu/education/international/intlfel03/rodriguez-sickert.php

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