Essays on Economic Change and its Theory
Chapter 11: Observational learning, group selection, and societal evolution
AbstractThe core problem of any group selection hypothesis is the possibility that pro-social individual behavior contributing to a selection advantage for the group as a whole is potentially subject to free-riding. If group behavior and, hence, the conditions for group selection change through imitation and migration between groups, as argued in Hayek's theory of societal evolution, the explanation of group selection needs to account for the individuals' cognitively reflected motivation to adopt pro-social behavior in the face of free-riding. To do so a game-theoretic model is suggested that incorporates observational learning as a mechanism of acquiring, and choosing between, strategies.
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