Markets, religion, community size, and the evolution of fairness and punishment

Science Published In Pages: 1480-1484
By Henrich, Joseph, Ensminger, Jean, McElreath, Richard L., Barr, Abigail, Barrett, Clark, Bolyanatz, Alexander, Cardenas, Juan Camilo, Gurven, Michael, Gwako, Edwins, Henrich, Natalie, Lesoorogol, Carolyn, Marlowe, Frank W., Tracer, David, Ziker, John


In order to explore the evolution of mutually beneficial transactions in large societies, this experimental study gathered data on the way people in societies of different subsistence types played games simulating interactions with anonymous others. The degree of fairness displayed by different players was correlated with measures of large-scale institutions, such as a market or world religion, that were present in a player’s society. Results suggest that “modern prosociality is not solely the product of an innate psychology, but also reflects norms and institutions that have emerged over the course of human history” (1480).

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:Jessie Cohen Amelia Piazza