Evolution of Social Behavior: Individual and Group Selection

to appear, Journal of Economic Perspectives

How selfish does our evolutionary history suggest that humans will be?  We  explore models in which groups are formed and dissolved and where reproduction of individuals is determined by their payoffs in a game played within groups. If groups are formed ``randomly'' and  reproductive success of group founders is determined by a multi-person prisoners' dilemma game, then selfish  behavior will  prevail over maximization of group payoffs.  However, interesting models exist in which ``group selection'' sustains cooperative behavior. Forces that support cooperative behavior include assortative matching in groups, group longevity, and punishment-based group norms.

Click here for a copy in pdf format
Click here for a copy in postscript format