We study the co-evolutionary emergence of fairness preferences in the form of other-regarding behavior and its effect on the origination of costly punishment behavior in public good games. Our approach closely combines empirical results from three experiments with an evolutionary simulation model. In this way, we try to fill a gap between the evolutionary theoretical literature on cooperation and punishment on the one hand and the empirical findings from experimental economics on the other hand. As a principal result, we show that the evolution among interacting agents inevitably favors a sense for fairness in the form of "disadvantageous inequity aversion". The evolutionary dominance and stability of disadvantageous inequity aversion is demonstrated by enabling agents to co-evolve with different self- and other-regarding preferences in a competitive environment with limited resources. Disadvantageous inequity aversion leads to the emergence of costly ("altruistic") punishment behavior and quantitatively explains the level of punishment observed in contemporary lab experiments performed on subjects with a western culture. Our findings corroborate, complement, and interlink the experimental and theoretical literature that has shown the importance of other-regarding behavior in various decision settings.
We identify and explain the mechanisms that account for the emergence of fairness preferences and altruistic punishment in voluntary contribution mechanisms by combining an evolutionary perspective together with an expected utility model. We aim at filling a gap between the literature on the theory of evolution applied to cooperation and punishment, and the empirical findings from experimental economics. The approach is motivated by previous findings on other-regarding behavior, the co-evolution of culture, genes and social norms, as well as bounded rationality. Our first result reveals the emergence of two distinct evolutionary regimes that force agents to converge either to a defection state or to a state of coordination, depending on the predominant set of self- or other-regarding preferences. Our second result indicates that subjects in laboratory experiments of public goods games with punishment coordinate and punish defectors as a result of an aversion against disadvantageous inequitable outcomes. Our third finding identifies disadvantageous inequity aversion as evolutionary dominant and stable in a heterogeneous population of agents endowed initially only with purely self-regarding preferences. We validate our model using previously obtained results from three independently conducted experiments of public goods games with punishment.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.