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Social Hierarchy and the Evolution of Behavior

Jiabin Wu ()

International Game Theory Review (IGTR), 2017, vol. 19, issue 04, 1-16

Abstract: This paper investigates how behavior evolves in a society with a social hierarchy consisting of high and low positions. Agents first collectively negotiate for high positions through a political institution. Next, each high position agent is matched with a low position agent to engage in some asymmetric pairwise interaction, which generates economic outcomes for the two agents. These economic outcomes in turn influence the evolution of agents’ behavior. We find that this evolutionary process induces Pareto-enhancing behavior by high position agents but Pareto-damaging behavior by low position agents. We take this result into a production–redistribution game in which a low position agent exerts effort to produce and a high position agent decides how to redistribute the output. We show that inefficient work effort and a positive transfer are evolutionarily stable.

Keywords: Evolutionary game theory; strategy evolution; asymmetric games; social hierarchy; political institution; work incentives; redistribution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1142/S0219198917500190

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