Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/235698
Authors: 
Cigno, Alessandro
Year of Publication: 
2021
Series/Report no.: 
GLO Discussion Paper No. 894
Abstract: 
This paper reviews the literature concerning the evolution of cultural traits in general and preferences in particular, and the emergence and persistence of rules or norms, from a family perspective. In models where each person is effectively the clone of an existing one (either a parent or anyone else), there may be evolution only in the demographic sense that the share of the population who hold a certain trait increases or decreases. Evolution in the strict sense of new traits making their appearance occurs in models where the trait characterizing any given member of any given generation is a combination of traits drawn at random from those represented in the previous generation. Preferences may be altruistic or non-altruistic, but individuals may behave as if they were altruistic even if they are not, because a rule or norm may make it in their interest to do so. Evolutionary stability and renegotiation proofness play analogous roles, the former by selecting altruistic preferences, and the latter by selecting cooperation-inducing rules. The existence of population groups recognizable by outward characteristics like ethnicity or religious practice may convey useful information regarding imperfectly observable traits of direct interest to individuals, but it may also lead individuals to judge others by their group membership rather than by their unobservable individual qualities, and thus to see them as possible foes.
Subjects: 
Evolution
preferences
rules
socialization
matching
JEL: 
Z1
C78
D01
D02
D13
J13
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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