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Moral Sentiments and Material Interests

The Foundations of Cooperation in Economic Life (Economic Learning and Social Evolution)

Herbert Gintis (Editor), Samuel Bowles (Editor), Robert Boyd (Editor)


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Moral Sentiments and Material Interests presents an innovative synthesis of research in different disciplines to argue that cooperation stems not from the stereotypical selfish agent acting out of disguised self-interest but from the presence of strong reciprocators in a social group.

Presenting an overview of research in economics, anthropology, evolutionary and human biology, social psychology, and sociology, the book deals with both the theoretical foundations and the policy implications of this explanation for cooperation. Chapter authors in the remaining parts of the book discuss the behavioral ecology of cooperation in humans and nonhuman primates, modeling and testing strong reciprocity in economic scenarios, and reciprocity and social policy. The evidence for strong reciprocity in the book includes experiments using the famous Ultimatum Game (in which two players must agree on how to split a certain amount of money or they both get nothing).

MIT Press, 9780262572378, 404pp.

Publication Date: August 11, 2006

About the Author

Robert Boyd is Professor of Anthropology at University of California at Los Angeles.