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Full-Text Articles in Other Economics

The Dynamics Of Men's Cooperation And Social Status In A Small-Scale Society, Christopher Von Rueden, Daniel Redhead, Rick O'Gorman, Hillard Kaplan, Michael Gurven Aug 2019

The Dynamics Of Men's Cooperation And Social Status In A Small-Scale Society, Christopher Von Rueden, Daniel Redhead, Rick O'Gorman, Hillard Kaplan, Michael Gurven

ESI Publications

We propose that networks of cooperation and allocation of social status co-emerge in human groups. We substantiate this hypothesis with one of the first longitudinal studies of cooperation in a preindustrial society, spanning 8 years. Using longitudinal social network analysis of cooperation among men, we find large effects of kinship, reciprocity and transitivity in the nomination of cooperation partners over time. Independent of these effects, we show that (i) higher-status individuals gain more cooperation partners, and (ii) individuals gain status by cooperating with individuals of higher status than themselves. We posit that human hierarchies are more egalitarian relative to other ...


Do Economic Inequalities Affect Long-Run Cooperation & Prosperity?, Gabriele Camera, Cary Deck, David Porter Apr 2019

Do Economic Inequalities Affect Long-Run Cooperation & Prosperity?, Gabriele Camera, Cary Deck, David Porter

ESI Working Papers

We explore if fairness and inequality motivations affect cooperation in indefinitely repeated games. Each round, we randomly divided experimental participants into donor-recipient pairs. Donors could make a gift to recipients, and ex-ante earnings are highest when all donors give. Roles were randomly reassigned every period, which induced inequality in ex-post earnings. Theoretically, income-maximizing players do not have to condition on this inequality because it is payoff-irrelevant. Empirically, payoff-irrelevant inequality affected participants’ ability to coordinate on efficient play: donors conditioned gifts on their own past roles and, with inequalities made visible, discriminated against those who were better off.


Money Is More Than Memory, Maria Bigoni, Gabriele Camera, Marco Casari Dec 2018

Money Is More Than Memory, Maria Bigoni, Gabriele Camera, Marco Casari

ESI Working Papers

Impersonal exchange is the hallmark of an advanced society and money is one key institution that supports it. Economic theory regards money as a crude arrangement for monitoring counterparts’ past conduct. If so, then a public record of past actions—or memory—should supersede the function performed by money. This intriguing theoretical postulate remains untested. In an experiment, we show that the suggested functional equivalence between money and memory does not translate into an empirical equivalence: money removed the incentives to free ride, while memory did not. Monetary systems performed a richer set of functions than just revealing past behaviors.


Centrality And Cooperation In Networks, Boris Van Leeuwen, Abhijit Ramalingam, David Rojo Arjona, Arthur Schram Sep 2018

Centrality And Cooperation In Networks, Boris Van Leeuwen, Abhijit Ramalingam, David Rojo Arjona, Arthur Schram

Economics Faculty Articles and Research

We investigate the effects of centrality on cooperation in groups. Players with centrality keep a group together by having a pivotal position in a network. In some of our experimental treatments, players can vote to exclude others and prevent them from further participation in the group. We find that, in the presence of exclusion, central players contribute significantly less than others, and that this is tolerated by those others. Because of this tolerance, teams with centrality manage to maintain high levels of cooperation.


Sex Differences In Political Leadership In An Egalitarian Society, Christopher Von Rueden, Sarah Alami, Hillard Kaplan, Michael Gurven Mar 2018

Sex Differences In Political Leadership In An Egalitarian Society, Christopher Von Rueden, Sarah Alami, Hillard Kaplan, Michael Gurven

ESI Publications

We test the contribution of sex differences in physical formidability, education, and cooperation to the acquisition of political leadership in a small-scale society. Among forager-farmers from the Bolivian Amazon, we find that men are more likely to exercise different forms of political leadership, including verbal influence during community meetings, coordination of community projects, and dispute resolution. We show that these differences in leadership are not due to gender per se but are associated with men’s greater number of cooperation partners, greater access to schooling, and greater body size and physical strength. Men’s advantage in cooperation partner number is ...


Indefinitely Repeated Contests: An Experimental Study, Philip Brookins, Dmitry Ryvkin, Andrew Smyth Feb 2018

Indefinitely Repeated Contests: An Experimental Study, Philip Brookins, Dmitry Ryvkin, Andrew Smyth

ESI Working Papers

We experimentally explore indefinitely repeated contests. Theory predicts more cooperation, in the form of lower expenditures, in indefinitely repeated contests with a longer expected time horizon, yet our data do not support this prediction. Theory also predicts more cooperation in indefinitely repeated contests compared to finitely repeated contests of the same expected length, but we find no significant difference empirically. When controlling for risk and gender, we actually find significantly higher long-run expenditure in some indefinite contests relative to finite contests. Finally, theory predicts no difference in cooperation across indefinitely repeated winner-take-all and proportional-prize contests. We find significantly less cooperation ...


Gender, Punishment, And Cooperation: Men Hurt Others To Advance Their Interests, Terence C. Burnham May 2017

Gender, Punishment, And Cooperation: Men Hurt Others To Advance Their Interests, Terence C. Burnham

ESI Working Papers

A laboratory experiment that reports on gender, cooperation, and punishment in two repeated public goods game using high-powered punishment. In a repeated public goods game with punishment, no statistically significant differences between men and women are reported. In a modified game that adds an explicit payoff for relative performance, men punish more than women, men obtain higher rank, and punishment by males decreases payoffs for both men and for women. These results contribute to the debate about the origins and maintenance of cooperation.


The Tsimane Health And Life History Project: Integrating Anthropology And Biomedicine, Michael Gurven, Jonathan Stieglitz, Benjamin C. Trumble, Aaron D. Blackwell, Bret Beheim, Helen Davis, Hillard Kaplan, Paul L. Hooper Apr 2017

The Tsimane Health And Life History Project: Integrating Anthropology And Biomedicine, Michael Gurven, Jonathan Stieglitz, Benjamin C. Trumble, Aaron D. Blackwell, Bret Beheim, Helen Davis, Hillard Kaplan, Paul L. Hooper

ESI Publications

The Tsimane Health and Life History Project, an integrated bio-behavioral study of the human life course, is designed to test competing hypotheses of human life-history evolution. One aim is to understand the bidirectional connections between life history and social behavior in a highfertility, kin-based context lacking amenities of modern urban life (e.g. sanitation, banks, electricity). Another aim is to understand how a high pathogen burden influences health and well-being during development and adulthood. A third aim addresses how modernization shapes human life histories and sociality. Here we outline the project’s goals, history, and main findings since its inception ...


Asymmetric Social Norms, Gabriele Camera, Alessandro Gioffré Dec 2016

Asymmetric Social Norms, Gabriele Camera, Alessandro Gioffré

ESI Working Papers

Studies of cooperation in infinitely repeated matching games focus on homogeneous economies, where full cooperation is efficient and any defection is collectively sanctioned. Here we study heterogeneous economies where occasional defections are part of efficient play, and show how to support those outcomes through contagious punishments.


Does Market Integration Buffer Risk, Erode Traditional Sharing Practices And Increase Inequality? A Test Among Bolivian Forager-Farmers, Michael Gurven, Adrian V. Jaeggi, Christopher Von Rueden, Paul L. Hooper, Hillard Kaplan Jul 2015

Does Market Integration Buffer Risk, Erode Traditional Sharing Practices And Increase Inequality? A Test Among Bolivian Forager-Farmers, Michael Gurven, Adrian V. Jaeggi, Christopher Von Rueden, Paul L. Hooper, Hillard Kaplan

ESI Publications

Sharing and exchange are common practices for minimizing food insecurity in rural populations. The advent of markets and monetization in egalitarian indigenous populations presents an alternative means of managing risk, with the potential impact of eroding traditional networks. We test whether market involvement buffers several types of risk and reduces traditional sharing behavior among Tsimane Amerindians of the Bolivian Amazon. Results vary based on type of market integration and scale of analysis (household vs. village), consistent with the notion that local culture and ecology shape risk management strategies. Greater wealth and income were unassociated with the reliance on others for ...


Public Goods With Punishment & Payment For Relative Rank, Terence C. Burnham Jun 2015

Public Goods With Punishment & Payment For Relative Rank, Terence C. Burnham

ESI Working Papers

A laboratory experiment designed to investigate the role of relative performance-based payoffs on cooperation in the context of punishment. Subjects play a repeated public goods game with high-powered punishment (50:1) and additional payoffs based on relative performance. Contributions to the public good are nearly maximal. Punishment levels are substantial, higher than the same game without relative rank payoffs, and sufficiently high that total payoffs are negative. The group would make much more money in the same setting without punishment. This study contributes to investigation of the role of altruism in human cooperation.


Language And Cooperation In Hominin Scavenging, Bart J. Wilson, Samuel R. Harris Jan 2015

Language And Cooperation In Hominin Scavenging, Bart J. Wilson, Samuel R. Harris

ESI Working Papers

Bickerton (2009, 2014) hypothesizes that language emerged as the solution to a scavenging problem faced by proto‐humans. We design a virtual world to explore how people use words to persuade others to work together for a common end. By gradually reducing the vocabularies that the participants can use, we trace the process of solving the hominin scavenging problem. Our experiment changes the way we think about social dilemmas. Instead of asking how does a group overcome the selfinterest of its constituents, the question becomes, how do constituents persuade one another to work together for a common end that yields ...


Leadership In An Egalitarian Society, Christopher Von Rueden, Michael Gurven, Hillard Kaplan, Jonathan Stieglitz Sep 2014

Leadership In An Egalitarian Society, Christopher Von Rueden, Michael Gurven, Hillard Kaplan, Jonathan Stieglitz

ESI Publications

Leadership is instrumental to resolution of collective action dilemmas, particularly in large, heterogeneous groups. Less is known about the characteristics or effectiveness of leadership in small-scale, homogeneous, and relatively egalitarian societies, in which humans have spent most of our existence. Among Tsimane’ forager-horticulturalists of Bolivia, we (1) assess traits of elected leaders under experimental and naturalistic conditions and (2) test whether leaders impact collective action outcomes. We find that elected leaders are physically strong and have more kin and other exchange partners. Their ranks on physical dominance, kin support, and trustworthiness predict how well their groups perform, but only where ...


Political Influence Associates With Cortisol And Health Among Egalitarian Forager-Farmers, Christopher Von Rueden, Benjamin C. Trumble, Melissa Emery Thompson, Jonathan Stieglitz, Paul L. Hooper, Aaron D. Blackwell, Hillard Kaplan, Michael Gurven Sep 2014

Political Influence Associates With Cortisol And Health Among Egalitarian Forager-Farmers, Christopher Von Rueden, Benjamin C. Trumble, Melissa Emery Thompson, Jonathan Stieglitz, Paul L. Hooper, Aaron D. Blackwell, Hillard Kaplan, Michael Gurven

ESI Publications

Background and objectives: Low social status increases risk of disease due, in part, to the psychosocial stress that accompanies feeling subordinate or poor. Previous studies report that chronic stress and chronically elevated cortisol can impair cardiovascular and immune function. We test whether lower status is more benign in small-scale, relatively egalitarian societies, where leaders lack coercive authority and there is minimal material wealth to contest.

Methodology: Among Tsimane’ forager-horticulturalists of lowland Bolivia, we compare informal political influence among men with urinary cortisol, immune activation (innate and acquired), and morbidity as assessed during routine medical exams.

Results: After controlling for potential ...


Divided Loyalists Or Conditional Cooperators? Creating Consensus About Cooperation In Multiple Simultaneous Social Dilemmas, Matthew W. Mccarter, Anya Samek, Roman M. Sheremeta Jan 2014

Divided Loyalists Or Conditional Cooperators? Creating Consensus About Cooperation In Multiple Simultaneous Social Dilemmas, Matthew W. Mccarter, Anya Samek, Roman M. Sheremeta

ESI Publications

The current social dilemma literature lacks theoretical consensus regarding how individuals behave when facing multiple simultaneous social dilemmas. The divided-loyalty hypothesis, from organizational theory, predicts that cooperation will decline as individuals experience multiple social dilemmas with different compared to the same group members. The conditional-cooperation hypothesis, from behavioral economics, predicts that cooperation will increase as individuals experience multiple social dilemmas with different compared to the same group members. We employ a laboratory experiment to create consensus between these literatures and find support for the conditional-cooperation hypothesis. The positive effect of interacting with different group members comes from participants having an ...


Money Is More Than Memory, Maria Bigoni, Gabriele Camera, Marco Casari Jan 2014

Money Is More Than Memory, Maria Bigoni, Gabriele Camera, Marco Casari

ESI Working Papers

Impersonal exchange is the hallmark of an advanced society. One key institution for impersonal exchange is money, which economic theory considers just a primitive arrangement for monitoring past conduct in society. If so, then a public record of past actions—or memory—supersedes the function performed by money. This intriguing theoretical postulate remains untested. In an experiment, we show that the suggested functional equality between money and memory does not translate into an empirical equivalence. Monetary systems perform a richer set of functions than just revealing past behaviors, which proves to be crucial in promoting large-scale cooperation.


Dynamical Structure Of A Traditional Amazonian Social Network, Paul L. Hooper, Simon Dedeo, Ann E. Caldwell Hooper, Michael Gurven, Hillard Kaplan Nov 2013

Dynamical Structure Of A Traditional Amazonian Social Network, Paul L. Hooper, Simon Dedeo, Ann E. Caldwell Hooper, Michael Gurven, Hillard Kaplan

ESI Publications

Reciprocity is a vital feature of social networks, but relatively little is known about its temporal structure or the mechanisms underlying its persistence in real world behavior. In pursuit of these two questions, we study the stationary and dynamical signals of reciprocity in a network of manioc beer (Spanish: chicha; Tsimane’: shocdye’) drinking events in a Tsimane’ village in lowland Bolivia. At the stationary level, our analysis reveals that social exchange within the community is heterogeneously patterned according to kinship and spatial proximity. A positive relationship between the frequencies at which two families host each other, controlling for kinship and ...


Responses To The Assurance Game In Monkeys, Apes, And Humans Using Equivalent Procedures, Sarah F. Brosnan, Audrey E. Parrish, Michael J. Beran, Timothy Flemming, Lisa Heimbauer, Catherine F. Talbot, Susan P. Lambeth, Steven J. Schapiro, Bart J. Wilson Jan 2011

Responses To The Assurance Game In Monkeys, Apes, And Humans Using Equivalent Procedures, Sarah F. Brosnan, Audrey E. Parrish, Michael J. Beran, Timothy Flemming, Lisa Heimbauer, Catherine F. Talbot, Susan P. Lambeth, Steven J. Schapiro, Bart J. Wilson

ESI Publications

There is great interest in the evolution of economic behavior. In typical studies, species are asked to play one of a series of economic games, derived from game theory, and their responses are compared. The advantage of this approach is the relative level of consistency and control that emerges from the games themselves; however, in the typical experiment, procedures and conditions differ widely, particularly between humans and other species. Thus, in the current study, we investigated how three primate species, capuchin monkeys, chimpanzees, and humans, played the Assurance (or Stag Hunt) game using procedures that were, to the best of ...


Group Cooperation Under Uncertainty, Min Gong, Joanne Baron, Howard Kunreuther Dec 2009

Group Cooperation Under Uncertainty, Min Gong, Joanne Baron, Howard Kunreuther

Operations, Information and Decisions Papers

Previous research has shown an ‘interindividual-intergroup discontinuity effect’: intergroup interactions generally lead to less cooperative outcomes than interindividual interactions. We replicate the discontinuity effect in the deterministic prisoner’s dilemma, but find that groups are more cooperative than individuals in a stochastic version of the game. Three major factors that underlie the usual discontinuity effect are reduced in the stochastic environment: greed, fear, and persuasion power. Two group mechanisms are proposed to explain the reversed discontinuity effect: the motivation to avoid guilt and blame when making decisions that affect others’ welfare, and the social pressure to conform to certain norms ...