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Three essays on the evolution of cooperation

Jung-Kyoo Choi, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Altruistic cooperation, like a typical example of altruistic behavior, is frequently observed in human societies. Since altruistic cooperation; just as any other form of altruism is socially beneficial but individually costly, the evolution of cooperation has long been regarded as a challenging puzzle and one of the most intriguing issues in socio-biological debate. The following three essays analyze these problems. First, I examine the role of institutions in sustaining social norms and the evolution of these institutions. Second, I also analyze the effect of social interactions on the evolution of cooperative traits among individuals where kin selection and reciprocal altruism do not apply. ^ The first essay examines the problems of an n person public goods game structure. In this essay. I show that retaliation based on the repetition of game is not enough to sustain cooperation. By suggesting the difficulties involved in multi-agent interaction and the inapplicability of the repeated game approach to n person public goods situation, the essay reconfirms the importance of institutions that provide favorable conditions for the evolution of cooperation. ^ The second essay analyzes the effect of different structures of social interaction on the evolution of cooperation in an n-person public goods game situation. I set up an agent-based model in which agents interact with others under different social structures, to see which social environment provides favorable conditions for cooperative behavior. ^ In the third essay, I present a model to show how institutions govern relationships and interactions among individuals, and how these institutions evolve. To answer the first question, specifically, I discuss the evolution of equal-sharing norms which had been sustained for most of human history before private property rights were established. ^

Subject Area

Cultural anthropology|Economic theory

Recommended Citation

Choi, Jung-Kyoo, "Three essays on the evolution of cooperation" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3110474.