The Co-Evolution of Behaviors and Instututions

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This project seeks to understand how the institutions that regulate social interactions – such as economic exchange, marital matching, and cooperation and conflict within and between groups – shape the evolution of individual preferences, norms, and other motivations, and in turn how the resulting individual behaviors shape the evolution of social institutions. Methods include stochastic evolutionary game theory, gene-culture co-evolutionary models, agent-based simulations, and behavioral experiments. To sharpen and discipline the theory-building process, we address such empirical puzzles as the innovation, persistence and demise of institutions regulating economic activity and the distribution of wealth. Another important theme is the nature and diversity of other-regarding preferences such as altruism and ingroup bias, and their evolutionary origins and contemporary dynamics. Since 1998 this project has convened an annual workshop consisting of SFI faculty and others from disciplines including anthropology, archeology, biology, ecology, economics, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, public policy, and sociology.

SFI Affiliated Researchers

Larry Blume, SFI External Faculty and Professor of Economics, Cornell University

Samuel Bowles, SFI Professor & Professor of Economics, University of Siena

Robert Boyd, SFI External Faculty & Professor of Anthropology, UCLA

Charles Efferson, SFI Postdoctoral Fellow (Ecology)

Doyne Farmer, SFI Professor (Physics and Economics)

Herbert Gintis, SFI External Faculty & Professor of Economics, Central European University

Daniel Hruschka, SFI Postdoctoral Fellow (Anthropology)

John Miller, SFI Professor & Professor of Economics, Carnegie Mellon University

Elisabeth Wood, SFI Professor & Professor of Political Science, Yale University

Peyton Young, SFI External Faculty & Professor of Economics, Oxford University

Related Papers

Group Competition, Reproductive Leveling, and the Evolution of Human Altruism
Samuel Bowles

Persistent Institutions
Samuel Bowles and Suresh Naidu

The Diffusion of Development
Enrico Spolaore and Romain Wacziarg

The Price of Fertility: Marriage Markets and Family Planing in Bangladesh
Raj Arunachalam and Suresh Naidu

Indirect Reciprocity can Stabilize Cooperatioon without the Second-Order Free Rider Problem
Karthik Panchanathan and Robert Boyd

Incentives, Decision Frames, and Motivation Crowding Out---An Experimental Investigation
Bernd Irlenbusch and Dirk Sliwka

The Dynamics of Statistical Discrimination
Lawrence E. Blume

Trading Networks with Price-Setting Agents
Larry Blume, David Easley, Jon Kleinberg, and Eva Tardos

The Market as a Learning Organism
Larry Blume and David Easley

The Spread of Innovations by Social Learning
H. Peyton Young

Innovation Diffusion and Population Heterogeneity
H. Peyton Young

The Evolution of Ethnic Markers in the Lab
Charles Efferson and Rafael Lalive

Conformists and Mavericks in the Lab: The Structure of Frequency-Dependent Social Learning
Charles Efferson, Rafael Lalive, Peter J. Richerson, Richard McElreath, and Mark Lubell

Models and Anti-Models: The Structure of Payoff-Dependent Social Learning
Charles Efferson, Rafael Lalive, Peter J. Richerson, Richard McElreath, and Mark Lubell

Chimpanzees are Indifferent to the Welfare of Unrelated Group Members
Joan B. Silk, Sarah F. Brosnan, Jennifer Vonk, Joseph Henrich, Daniel J. Povinelli, Amanda S. Richardson, Susan P. Lambeth, Jenny Mascaro, and Steven J. Schapiro

Who Are More Helpful, Humans or Chimpanzees?
Joan B. Silk

Towards a Unified Behavioral Science
Herbert Gintis

Subgame Perfection in Evolutionary Dynamics with Recurrent Perturbations
Herbert Gintis, Ross Cressman, and Thijs Ruijgrok

The Evolution of Private Property
Herbert Gintis

Collapse in Early Mesopatamian States: What Happened and what Didn't
Norman Yoffee and Paul Hartzog

The Evolution of Altruism Between Siblings; Hamilton's Rule Revisited
Robert Rowthorn

When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do: The Coevolution of Altruistic Punishment, Conformisst Learning, and Cooperation
Ricardo Andres Guzman, Carlos Rodriguez Sickeert, and Robert Rowthorn

Persistent Group Inequality
Samuel Bowles and Rajiv Sethi