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American Economic Review: Vol. 102 No. 2 (April 2012)

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Carrot or Stick? The Evolution of Reciprocal Preferences in a Haystack Model

Article Citation

Herold, Florian. 2012. "Carrot or Stick? The Evolution of Reciprocal Preferences in a Haystack Model." American Economic Review, 102(2): 914-40.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.2.914

Abstract

We study the evolution of both characteristics of reciprocity: the willingness to reward and the willingness to punish. First, both preferences for rewarding and preferences for punishing can survive provided that individuals interact within separate groups. Second, rewarders survive only in coexistence with self-interested preferences, but punishers either vanish or dominate the population entirely. Third, the evolution of preferences for rewarding and the evolution of preferences for punishing influence each other decisively. Rewarders can invade a population of self-interested players. The existence of rewarders enhances the evolutionary success of punishers, who then crowd out all other preferences. (JEL C71, C72, C73, D64, K42)

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Authors

Herold, Florian (U Bamberg)

JEL Classifications

C71: Cooperative Games
C72: Noncooperative Games
C73: Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games; Repeated Games
D64: Altruism
K42: Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law


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