Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 309–312 | Cite as

Altruism in the household: in kind transfers in the context of kin selection

  • José Alberto Molina

It is generally accepted that nature is, in essence, competitive. Nevertheless, the world is full of examples that demonstrate the opposite, cooperation. It is precisely this spirit of collaboration, this teamwork, that has allowed the emergence of increasingly complete forms of life. This special issue is about altruistic acts defined as behavior in which an individual assumes a cost so that others can obtain a benefit.

Darwin (1859) already realized that this altruistic behavior presented a problem for his theory of evolution by natural selection. How does one explain the existence of altruistic individuals when their conduct benefits others but entails a cost for them? The model that best explains how natural selection promotes altruistic conduct is based on kin selection: within a family nucleus altruism takes place among family members who share genes as descendants of common ancestors. This reasoning has been mathematically revealed through Hamilton’s rule, stating that altruism...


Parental Altruism Parental Happiness Family Structure Transition Free School Lunch High Quality Manuscript 
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I am grateful for helpful comments from Shoshana Grossbard. This contribution has been benefited from the funding from the Spanish Ministry of Economics (Project ECO2012-34828).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Zaragoza and IZAZaragozaSpain

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