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In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies

Henrich, Joseph and Boyd, Robert and Bowles, Samuel and Camerer, Colin F. and Fehr, Ernst and Gintis, Herbert and McElreath, Richard (2001) In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies. American Economic Review, 91 (2). pp. 73-78. ISSN 0002-8282. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:HENaer01

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Abstract

We can summarize our results as follows. First, the canonical model is not supported in any society studied. Second, there is considerably more behavioral variability across groups than had been found in previous cross-cultural research, and the canonical model fails in a wider variety of ways than in previous experiments. Third, group-level differences in economic organization and the degree of market integration explain a substantial portion of the behavioral variation across societies: the higher the degree of market integration and the higher the payoffs to cooperation, the greater the level of cooperation in experimental games. Fourth, individual-level economic and demographic variables do not explain behavior either within or across groups. Fifth, behavior in the experiments is generally consistent with economic patterns of everyday life in these societies.


Item Type:Article
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http://www.jstor.org/stable/2677736PublisherUNSPECIFIED
http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20110210-111908695AuthorUNSPECIFIED
Additional Information:American Economic Review © 2001. The research described in this paper was funded by the MacArthur Foundation's Research Group on the Nature and Origin of Norms and Preferences, directed by Robert Boyd and Herbert Gintis. The field experiments were carried out by Henrich, McElreath, Michael Alvard, Abigail Barr, Jean Ensminger, Francisco Gil-White, Michael Gurven, Kim Hill, Frank Marlowe, John Patton, Natalie Smith, and David Tracer. Original paper from author (Camerer) entitled: Cooperation, Reciprocity and Punishment in Fifteen Small-Scale Societies. Included in the Papers and Proceedings of the Hundred Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association, 2001.
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MacArthur Foundation's Research Group on the Nature and Origin of Norms and PreferenceUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:HENaer01
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:HENaer01
Official Citation:In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies Joseph Henrich, Robert Boyd, Samuel Bowles, Colin Camerer, Ernst Fehr, Herbert Gintis, Richard McElreath The American Economic Review Vol. 91, No. 2, Papers and Proceedings of the Hundred Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May, 2001), pp. 73-78 Published by: American Economic Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2677736
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:11498
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Lindsay Cleary
Deposited On:29 Aug 2008 04:59
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 10:15

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