Towards a unified theory of reciprocity

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (1):36 (2012)
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Abstract

In a unified theory of human reciprocity, the strong and weak forms are similar because neither is biologically altruistic and both require normative motivation to support cooperation. However, strong reciprocity is necessary to support cooperation in public goods games. It involves inflicting costs on defectors; and though the costs for punishers are recouped, recouping costs requires complex institutions that would not have emerged if weak reciprocity had been enough.

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Francesco Guala
Università degli Studi di Milano
Alejandro Rosas
Universidad Nacional de Colombia

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