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Alexander J. Field's Altruistically Inclined?: The Behavioral Sciences, PDF

By Alexander J. Field

ISBN-10: 0472112244

ISBN-13: 9780472112241

Alexander J. box is the Michel and Mary Orradre Professor of Economics at Santa Clara University.

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Extra resources for Altruistically Inclined?: The Behavioral Sciences, Evolutionary Theory, and the Origins of Reciprocity

Example text

It is true that in day-to-day life with my family or at work, I engage in interactions that have long and indefinite time horizons. But every time I venture on the freeway, walk down the main street of a new city, get onto a crowded subway car, or hike down a sparsely trav­ eled backcountry trail, I engage in encounters that are, in all likelihood, one shot. The "social structure" that makes the assumption of indefinitely repeated interaction realistic is one we are continually creating and re-creating.

The Coase position does, after all, and in contrast to Friedman, evi­ dence an interest in how the engine operates. But if we are to select emen­ dations or alterations to the assumptions reflected in the standard eco­ nomic model, the criteria for so doing should be more systematic than intuition, ultimately no more an adequate guide in developing alternatives than a justification for sticking with a poorly performing model . Persisting in regarding the mechanism(s) producing behavior as a black box, and continuing to rely only on our intuition, we are likely to end up with emended models that provide ex post rationales for anomalous observa­ tions but lack out-of-sample predictive power because they have not ade­ quately captured relevant cognitive or behavioral mechanisms .

Chapter 1 details this evi­ dence and expands on the issues involved in its explanation. Chapter 2 discusses the logic, mathematics, evidential foundation, and intellectual background of evolutionary models embodying multilevel selection and their role in understanding human altruism. Chapters 3 and 4 address alternate explanations for the emergence of complex social orga­ nization. Chapter 3 considers Robert Trivers's model of reciprocal altru­ ism, the concept of social norms, and research in evolutionary game the­ ory, particularly that of John Maynard-Smith and Robert Axelrod.

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Altruistically Inclined?: The Behavioral Sciences, Evolutionary Theory, and the Origins of Reciprocity by Alexander J. Field


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