On the Evolution of Altruism

  • Oded Stark
Part of the International Economic Association Series book series (IEA)


An example is provided to illustrate how evolution can select for altruism. It is shown that evolution can sustain altruistic behaviour between relatives even in a single-shot prisoner’s dilemma model in which altruism benefits one’s opponent at a cost to oneself, and conditions are derived under which altruism persists and flourishes to the extent that the entire population will consist of altruists. The case presented is of interest also because it illustrates how the distribution of a population by a trait is an outcome solely of the relative payoff to the trait in intrafamilial exchanges.


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  1. Stark, Oded (1999) Altruism and Beyond: An Economic Analysis of Transfers and Exchanges Within Families and Groups, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Economic Association 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oded Stark
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of OsloNorway
  2. 2.University of ViennaAustria

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