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Monday, February 06, 2012
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


Norms, coordinated punishment and large-scale human cooperation

Robert Boyd
Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles

Unlike other vertebrates, humans cooperate in large groups of unrelated individuals, even in the acephalous societies that dominated most of human history. I present recent empirical work on contemporary warfare among Turkana pastoralists that indicates that costly cooperation in such societies is maintained by norms enforced by coordinated punishment. Most current models of the evolution of cooperation assume that punishment is uncoordinated and unconditional. Here, I present a model that suggests that coordinated punishment can proliferate when rare, and when it does, it enhances group-average payoffs.

Host: David Wolpert, CCS-3, 665-7914, Game Theory Seminar Series