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Competitive Altruism, Mentalizing, and Signaling

Ed Hopkins

American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 2014, vol. 6, issue 4, 272-92

Abstract: One explanation of altruism is that it arises from "mentalizing", the process of understanding the mental states of others. Another is based on sexual selection: altruism is a costly signal of good genes. This paper shows that these two arguments are stronger together in that altruists who can mentalize have a greater ad- vantage over non-altruists when they can signal their type, even though these signals are costly, when such signalling allows better matching opportunities. Finally, it shown how mentalizing leads to higher payoffs for both partners in a long-term relationship, modeled as a repeated game with private monitoring.

JEL-codes: C73 D64 D82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.6.4.272
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Working Paper: Competitive Altruism, Mentalizing and Signalling (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: Competitive Altruism, Mentalizing and Signalling (2010) Downloads
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