Empirical Work - evidence that people will reward and...

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Empirical Work The prisoners’ dilemma. What happens when you iterate? Axelrod’s experiment, and the strength of tit-for-tat. Two kinds of reputation effect: that you will cooperate if the other does; that you will not cooperate if the other doesn’t. So this can be explained as a form of reciprocal altruism: short-term sacrifice for long-term benefit. The limits to this: doesn’t work with large numbers. The typical decline of trust in iterated public goods games. Something more is needed. Strong reciprocity: a readiness to reward altruism and punish egoism in others; and to do this moreover even when there is no long-term benefit to be gained. Prisoners’ dilemmas, and their multi- person equivalents, give no real possibility of reward or punishment; one can only withdraw cooperation in general. But other games have different structures, and so are more like real world interactions. Punishment: the ultimatum game. Reward: the trust game. Third party punishment (recall Butler). These tendencies are stronger when there is a reputation effect. But there is good
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Unformatted text preview: evidence that people will reward and punish even when this is absent: for instance in single-shot anonymous games. Neurological evidence that we get pleasure from cooperating (Rilling); and that the desire to punish may be driven by emotional factors. Should an evolutionary explanation be given of this? If so, perhaps it could be explained by Simpson style effects. But it is not obvious that an evolutionary explanation is needed since it seems to be learned behavior. And there is evidence that this is so: it differs across different societies; it is more prevalent in older individuals, or those who have played more games. Of course people need to be of the type that enables them to learn evolutionary behaviour. But maybe that is not something that needs to be explained directly by the benefits conferred on the whole population by altruism. What is really needed is some tendency to conformity. And there might be many reasons why that is selected for....
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