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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance

No 588:
Natural selection and social preferences

Jörgen Weibull () and Marcus Salomonsson ()

Abstract: A large number of individuals are randomly matched into groups, where each group plays a finite symmetric game. Individuals breed true. The expected number of surviving offspring depends on own material payoff, but may also, due to cooperative breeding and/or reproductive competition, depend on the material payoffs to other group members. The induced population dynamic is equivalent with the replicator dynamic for a game with payoffs derived from those in the original game. We apply this selection dynamic to a number of examples, including prisoners' dilemma games with and without a punishment option, coordination games, and hawk-dove games. For each of these, we compare the outcomes with those obtained under the standard replicator dynamic. By way of a revealed-preference argument, our selection dynamic can explain certain "altruistic" and "spiteful" behaviors that are consistent with individuals having social preferences.

Keywords: Group selection; social preferences; altruism; fairness.; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: C72; C73; D64; (follow links to similar papers)

34 pages, February 28, 2005, Revised September 27, 2005

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This paper is published as:
Weibull, Jörgen and Marcus Salomonsson, (2006), 'Natural selection and social preferences', Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 239, pages 79-92



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