Or: Using the vast collaboraive global technological infrastructure of blogging to wonder whether people can coordinate on things.
“Selfishness” versus “altruism” in ecology, evolutionary biology, economics, game theory, moral philosophy. Group selection, cancer, eusociality. Genetic, social, individual and other kinds of learning, and their interactions. Ethnic signifiers and parochial cooperation.
Martin Sustrik summarises Herrmann, Thöni and Gächter in Anti-social punishment
There’s a trope among Slovak intellectual elite depicting an average Slovak as living in a village, sitting a local pub, drinking Borovička, criticizing everyone and everything but not willing to lift a finger to improve things. Moreover, it is assumed that if you actually tried to make things better, said individual would throw dirt at you and place obstacles in your way.
I always assumed that this caricature was silly. It was partly because I have a soft spot for Slovak rural life but mainly because such behavior makes absolutely no sense from game-theoretical point of view. If a do-gooder is stupid enough to try to altruistically improve your life, why go into trouble of actively opposing them? Why not just sit safely hidden in the pub, drink some more Borovička and wait until they are done?
Well, it turns out that the things are far more complex then I thought.[…] Herrmann, Thöni and Gächter found out that participants in some societies were engaging in what they’ve called “anti-social punishment”. They were punishing cooperators! […]
The authors then try to find out which aspects of the society are correlated with the high anti-social punishment rate:
With respect to antisocial punishment, we found that both norms of civic cooperation and rule of law are significantly negatively correlated with punishment (at P < 0.05). In other words, antisocial punishment is harsher in participant pools from societies with weak norms of civic cooperation and a weak rule of law. Additional analyses show that antisocial punishment also varies highly significantly with a variety of indicators developed by social scientists in order to characterize societies. Thus, the extent of antisocial punishment is most likely affected by the wider societal background.
The Tragedy of the Commons in a Violent World by P. Sekeris (2014) discusssed at A Fine Theorem.
Robin Hanson, in Foragers and farmers, does not turn such a fine phrase, but has some other interesting axes to vivisect cooperation along.
But when the group was stressed and threatened by dominators, outsiders, or famine, the collective view mattered less, and people reverted to more general Machiavellian social strategies. Then it mattered more who had what physical resources and strength, and what personal allies. People leaned toward projecting toughness instead of empathy And they demanded stronger signals of loyalty, such as conformity, and were more willing to suspect people of disloyalty. Subgroups and non-conformity became more suspect, including subgroups that consistently argued together for unpopular positions.
An interesting first-order approximation to why we cooperate. See status.
Germs and cooperation
Is culture just a side effect of the struggle to avoid disease? A cute hypothesis told popsci-style:
If you were to live in such a pathogenically diverse place, you and your family would likely develop a resistance or immunity to your local parasites. But that defense might be useless if you were to move in with a group just a short distance away—or if a stranger, carrying a foreign pathogen load, were to insinuate himself into your clan. In such places, then, it would be important for neighboring groups to be able to tell the difference between “us” and “them.” With that thought in mind, Thornhill and his colleagues made a prediction: that regions with a balkanized landscape of localized parasites would in turn display a balkanized landscape of localized customs and conspicuous cultural differences among human populations—dialects, unique religious displays, distinctive art and music, and the like. While there is much more research to be done, early findings suggest that—particularly when it comes to the development of local languages and religions—pathogen stress does appear to spawn cultural diversity.
The confounding should be clear in this one, but I suppose it merits looking into. I am curious about the correlations they found, even if I am a priori skeptical of the causation that is their hypothesis, testability thereof etc.
Neurological basis for
I know nothing about this. A brief search reveals some fun publications although with a strident and simple tone that makes me suspicious that there might be a bit of pop psychology peer-review-by-media dynamic. e.g.
Love hormone' oxytocin carries unexpected side effect (Cardoso, Ellenbogen, and Linnen 2014):
Our study proves that the hormone ramps up innate social reasoning skills, resulting in an emotional oversensitivity that can be detrimental in those who don’t have any serious social deficiencies.
Alchian, Armen A. 1950. “Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory.” The Journal of Political Economy 58: 211–21.
Algan, Yann, and Pierre Cahuc. 2013. “Trust and Growth.” Annual Review of Economics 5 (1): 521–49. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-economics-081412-102108.
Axelrod, Robert. 1997. The Complexity of Cooperation: Agent-Based Models of Competition and Collaboration. Princeton University Press.
Axelrod, Robert, and William D. Hamilton. 1981. “The Evolution of Cooperation.” Science, New Series, 211 (4489): 1390–6. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1685895.
Axelrod, Robert, and Ross A Hammond. 2003. “The Evolution of Ethnocentric Behavior.” In.
Axelrod, Robert, Ross A Hammond, and Alan Grafen. 2004. “Altruism via Kin-Selection Strategies That Rely on Arbitrary Tags with Which They Coevolve.” Evolution 58 (8): 1833–8. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0014-3820.2004.tb00465.x.
Bernhard, Helen, Urs Fischbacher, and Ernst Fehr. 2006. “Parochial Altruism in Humans.” Nature 442 (7105): 912–15. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature04981.
Bowles, Samuel. 2001. “Individual Interactions, Group Conflicts, and the Evolution of Preferences.” Social Dynamics 155: 190. http://books.google.ch/books?hl=de&lr=&id=DBiyi8Ubih4C&oi=fnd&pg=PA155&dq=Individual+interactions,+group+conflicts,+and+the+evolution+of+preferences&ots=NMFYvAwGHU&sig=Fs56TT7N1lMHkenZOqk3g-uSGvs.
———. 2004. Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions, and Evolution. Princeton University Press.
———. 2011. “Is Liberal Society a Parasite on Tradition?” Philosophy and Public Affairs 39 (1): 46–81.
Bowles, Samuel, Jung-Kyoo Choi, and Astrid Hopfensitz. 2003. “The Co-Evolution of Individual Behaviors and Social Institutions.” Journal of Theoretical Biology 223 (2): 135–47. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-5193(03)00060-2.
Bowles, Samuel, and Herbert Gintis. 1998. “Efficient Redistribution: New Rules for Markets, States and Communities.” Recasting Egalitarianism: New Rules for Communities, States and Markets 3: 1.
———. 2000. “Reciprocity, Self-Interest and the Welfare State.” Nordic Journal of Political Economy 26: 33–53. http://www.nopecjournal.org/NOPEC_2000_a02.pdf.
———. 2004. “The Evolution of Strong Reciprocity: Cooperation in Heterogeneous Populations.” Theoretical Population Biology 65 (1): 17–28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tpb.2003.07.001.
———. 2002. “Social Capital and Community Governance.” The Economic Journal 112 (483): F419–F436. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0297.00077.
Boyd, Robert, and Peter J Richerson. 1987. “The Evolution of Ethnic Markers.” Cultural Anthropology 2: 65.
———. 1988. Culture and the Evolutionary Process. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
———. 1999. “Complex Societies: The Evolutionary Origins of a Crude Superorganism.” Human Nature 10: 253.
Boyd, Robert, and Peter J. Richerson. 1992. “Punishment Allows the Evolution of Cooperation (or Anything Else) in Sizable Groups.” Ethology and Sociobiology 13 (3): 171–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/0162-3095(92)90032-Y.
———. 1990. “Group Selection Among Alternative Evolutionarily Stable Strategies.” Journal of Theoretical Biology 145 (3): 331–42. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-5193(05)80113-4.
Brockhurst, Michael A, Angus Buckling, and Andy Gardner. 2007. “Cooperation Peaks at Intermediate Disturbance.” Current Biology ??
Brown, Jerram L. 1983. “Cooperation—A Biologist’s Dilemma.” In Advances in the Study of Behavior, edited by Robert A. Hinde Jay S. Rosenblatt Colin Beer and Marie-Claire Busnel, Volume 13:1–37. Academic Press. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065345408602843.
Cardoso, Christopher, Mark A. Ellenbogen, and Anne-Marie Linnen. 2014. “The Effect of Intranasal Oxytocin on Perceiving and Understanding Emotion on the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT).” Emotion 14 (1): 43–50. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0034314.
Cheng, Joey T., Jessica L. Tracy, and Joseph Henrich. 2010. “Pride, Personality, and the Evolutionary Foundations of Human Social Status.” Evolution and Human Behavior 31 (5): 334–47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2010.02.004.
Chong, Dennis. 1991. Collective Action and the Civil Rights Movement. American Politics and Political Economy Series. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Crawford, Sue E, and Elinor Ostrom. 1995. “A Grammar of Institutions.” The American Political Science Review 89: 582–600.
Farrell, Henry, and Bruce Schneier. 2018. “Common-Knowledge Attacks on Democracy.” SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3273111. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=3273111.
Fehr, Ernst, and Urs Fischbacher. 2003. “The Nature of Human Altruism.” Nature 425 (6960): 785–91. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v425/n6960/abs/nature02043.html.
Fehr, Ernst, and Klaus M. Schmidt. 1999. “A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 114 (3): 817–68. https://doi.org/10.1162/003355399556151.
Fosco, Constanza, and Friederike Mengel. 2010. “Cooperation Through Imitation and Exclusion in Networks.” Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jedc.2010.12.002.
Gelman, Andrew. 2008. “Methodology as Ideology: Some Comments on Robert Axelrod’s the Evolution of Cooperation.” QA Rivista Dell’Associazione Rossi-Doria 2 (September). http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/unpublished/axelrodps.
Gintis, Herbert. 2000. “Beyond Homo Economicus: Evidence from Experimental Economics.” Ecological Economics 35: 311. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0921-8009(00)00216-0.
Gintis, Herbert, Samuel Bowles, Robert Boyd, and Ernst Fehr. 2003. “Explaining Altruistic Behavior in Humans.” Evolution and Human Behavior 24 (3): 153–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1090-5138(02)00157-5.
Gintis, Herbert, Eric Smith, and Samuel Bowles. 2001. “Costly Signaling and Cooperation.” Journal of Theoretical Biology 213 (1): 103–19. https://doi.org/10.1006/jtbi.2001.2406.
Hardin, Russell. 1982. Collective Action. Baltimore: Published for Resources for the Future by the Johns Hopkins University Press.
———. 1971. “Collective Action as an Agreeable N-Prisoners’ Dilemma.” Behavioral Science 16 (5): 472–81. https://doi.org/10.1002/bs.3830160507.
Hauert, Christoph, Silvia De Monte, Josef Hofbauer, and Karl Sigmund. 2002. “Volunteering as Red Queen Mechanism for Cooperation in Public Goods Games.” Science 296 (5570): 1129–32. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1070582.
Heckathorn, Douglas D. 1996. “The Dynamics and Dilemmas of Collective Action.” American Sociological Review 61 (2): 250–77. https://doi.org/10.2307/2096334.
Henrich, Joseph, and Robert Boyd. 1998. “The Evolution of Conformist Transmission and the Emergence of Between-Group Differences.” Evolution and Human Behavior 19 (4): 215–41. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1090-5138(98)00018-X.
———. 2001. “Why People Punish Defectors: Weak Conformist Transmission Can Stabilize Costly Enforcement of Norms in Cooperative Dilemmas.” Journal of Theoretical Biology 208 (1): 79–89. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022519300922021.
Henrich, Joseph, Robert Boyd, Samuel Bowles, Colin Camerer, Ernst Fehr, Herbert Gintis, Richard McElreath, et al. 2005. “’Economic Man’ in Cross-Cultural Perspective: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28: 795.
Henrich, Joseph, and Francisco J. Gil-White. 2001. “The Evolution of Prestige: Freely Conferred Deference as a Mechanism for Enhancing the Benefits of Cultural Transmission.” Evolution and Human Behavior 22 (3): 165–96. http://radicalanthropologygroup.org/sites/default/files/pdf/class_text_065.pdf.
Hetzer, Moritz, and Didier Sornette. 2009. “Other-Regarding Preferences and Altruistic Punishment: A Darwinian Perspective.” SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 1468517. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=1468517.
———. 2013a. “The Co-Evolution of Fairness Preferences and Costly Punishment.” PLoS ONE 8 (3): e54308. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0054308.
———. 2013b. “An Evolutionary Model of Cooperation, Fairness and Altruistic Punishment in Public Good Games.” PLoS ONE 8 (11): e77041. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0077041.
Holzinger, Katharina. 2003a. “Common Goods, Matrix Games and Institutional Response.” European Journal of International Relations 9 (2): 173–212. http://ejt.sagepub.com/content/9/2/173.short.
———. 2003b. “The Problems of Collective Action: A New Approach.” Preprints aus der Max-Planck-Projektgruppe Recht der Gemeinschaftsgüter. http://www.econstor.eu/handle/10419/85085.
Kling, Arnold. 2020. “Evolutionary Roots of Cooperation.” Askblog. June 25, 2020. http://www.arnoldkling.com/blog/evolutionary-roots-of-cooperation/.
Le, Stephen, and Robert Boyd. 2007. “Evolutionary Dynamics of the Continuous Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma.” Journal of Theoretical Biology 245: 258–67.
Maner, Jon K. 2017. “Dominance and Prestige: A Tale of Two Hierarchies.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 26 (6): 526–31. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721417714323.
Moral Sentiments and Material Interests: The Foundations of Cooperation in Economic Life. 2006. The MIT Press.
Muir, W. M., and J. V. Craig. 1998. “Improving Animal Well-Being Through Genetic Selection.” Poultry Science 77 (12): 1781–8. https://doi.org/10.1093/ps/77.12.1781.
Nowak, Martin A. 2006. “Five Rules for the Evolution of Cooperation.” Science 314 (5805): 1560–3. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1133755.
Offer, Avner. 2002. “Why Has the Public Sector Grown so Large in Market Societies? The Political Economy of Prudence in the UK, c. 1870-2000.” Working Paper 44. Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers. Oxford University Department of Economics. http://economics.ouls.ox.ac.uk/14826/.
———. 2012. “The Economy of Obligation: Incomplete Contracts and the Cost of the Welfare State.” Working Paper 103. Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers. Oxford University Department of Economics. http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/Oxford-Economic-and-Social-History-Working-Papers/the-economy-of-obligation-incomplete-contracts-and-the-cost-of-the-welfare-state.
Olson, Mancur. 2009. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Vol. 124. Harvard University Press.
Ostrom, Elinor. 1990. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions). Cambridge University Press.
———. 1992. “The Rudiments of a Theory of the Origins, Survival, and Performance of Common Property Institutions.” Making the Commons Work: Theory, Practice and Policy.
———. 1998. “A Behavioral Approach to the Rational Choice Theory of Collective Action.” The American Political Science Review 92: 1–22. https://doi.org/10.2307/2585925.
———. 2000. “Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives 14: 137–58. https://doi.org/10.2307/2646923.
Ostrom, Elinor, Joanna Burger, Christopher B Field, Richard B Norgaard, and David Policansky. 1999. “Revisiting the Commons: Local Lessons, Global Challenges.” Science 284: 278–82. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.284.5412.278.
Richerson, Peter J, Robert T Boyd, and Joseph Henrich. 2003. “Cultural Evolution of Human Cooperation.” Genetic and Cultural Evolution of Cooperation, 357.
Riolo, Rick L, Michael D Cohen, and Robert Axelrod. 2001. “Evolution of Cooperation Without Reciprocity.” Nature 414 (6862): 441. https://doi.org/10.1038/35106555.
Schlager, Edella, and Elinor Ostrom. 1992. “Property-Rights Regimes and Natural Resources: A Conceptual Analysis.” Land Economics 68: 249–62. https://doi.org/10.2307/3146375.
Sekeris, Petros G. 2012. “The Tragedy of the Commons in a Violent World.” Working Paper 1213. University of Namur, Department of Economics. http://petros.sekeris.org/violentcommons.pdf.
Simler, Kevin, and Robin Hanson. 2018. The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life. 1 edition. New York: Oxford University Press.
Singh, Nirvikar. 1985. “Monitoring and Hierarchies: The Marginal Value of Information in a Principal-Agent Model.” Journal of Political Economy 93 (3): 599–609. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1832011.
Softky, William, and Criscillia Benford. 2017. “Sensory Metrics of Neuromechanical Trust.” Neural Computation 29 (9): 2293–2351. https://doi.org/10.1162/neco_a_00988.
Tooby, John, Leda Cosmides, and Michael E. Price. 2006. “Cognitive Adaptations Forn-Person Exchange: The Evolutionary Roots of Organizational Behavior.” Managerial and Decision Economics 27 (2-3): 103–29. https://doi.org/10.1002/mde.1287.
Tracy, Jessica L., and Richard W. Robins. 2007. “Emerging Insights into the Nature and Function of Pride.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 16 (3): 147–50. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00493.x.
Tracy, Jessica L., Azim F. Shariff, and Joey T. Cheng. 2010. “A Naturalist’s View of Pride.” Emotion Review 2 (2): 163–77. https://doi.org/10.1177/1754073909354627.