Reciprocity—an indirect evolutionary analysis
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This paper investigates agents who face a stylized pecuniary ‘game of life’ comprising the ultimatum game and the dictator game. Utility may but need not be attached to equity and reciprocity, as formalized by Falk and Fischbacher (Games Econom Behav, 54(2): 293–315, 2006) but, critically, this social component of preferences cannot be conditioned on whether an ultimatum or a dictator game is played. Evolutionary fitness of agents is determined solely by material success. Under these conditions, a strong preference for reciprocity, but little interest in equity as such evolves. Possible exogenous constraints that link reciprocity and equity concerns imply long-run levels of both which depend on the relative frequency of ultimatum vs. dictator interaction in agents’ multi-game environment.
KeywordsReciprocity Evolutionary stability Fairness
JEL ClassificationC78 C90
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