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The evolution of social norms

Ivar Kolstad

No WP 2003:1, CMI Working Papers from CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway

Abstract: Evolutionary game theory provides the tools to analyze which strategies, or patterns of behaviour, emerge over time through a process of adaptation. Social norms can be defined as patterns of behaviour with certain characteristics. Evolutionary game theory thus provides one perspective on how social norms are formed and maintained. Prisoner's dilemma games can be used to study the conditions under which cooperative norms emerge. Bargaining games can be used to address the formation of fairness norms. However, being more congenial to analyzing norms that somehow focus on material payoffs, it is not a given that evolutionary game theory can adequately address norms focusing on rights or virtues.

Keywords: Evolutionary; game; theory; Social; norms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C73 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 13 pages
Date: 2003
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