On the evolution of individualistic preferences: An incomplete information scenario

Efe A. Ok, Fernando Vega-Redondo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We study the evolution of preferences via payoff monotonic dynamics in strategic environments with and without complete information. It is known that, with complete information and subgroup matching, empirically plausible interdependent preference relations may entail the local instability of individualistic preferences (which target directly the maximization of material payoffs/fitness). In contrast, under incomplete information (unobservability of preference types), we show that independent preferences are globally stable in a large set of environments and locally stable in essentially any standard environment, provided that the number of subgroups that form in the society is large. Since these results are obtained within the context of a very general model, they may be thought of as providing an evolutionary rationale for the prevalence of individualistic preferences. Journal of Economic Literature Classification Numbers: C72, D42.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)231-254
    Number of pages24
    JournalJournal of Economic Theory
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 2001


    • Evolution
    • Incomplete information
    • Individualistic
    • Preferences

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics


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