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date: 09 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Altruistic and cooperative behaviors are often described as being in conflict with the assumption or rational economic man, and most notably the economics’ assumption of self-interest. Donations to charity, voluntary contributions to public goods, and fairness preferences do not seem to match with economic notions like greed and the maximization of the ones’ own outcomes. Prosocial and economic behavior, however, are not always mutually exclusive. The current chapter discusses both the strengths and limitations of economic accounts of prosocial behavior. For this purpose, the chapter discusses and combines insights from behavioral economics, social psychology and evolutionary psychology.

Keywords: self-interest, cooperation, fairness, reciprocity, evolution, ultimatum game, prisoner’s dilemma

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