Foundations of Human Sociality Economic Experiments and Ethnographic Evidence from Fifteen Small-Scale Societies

ISBN-10: 0199262055
ISBN-13: 9780199262052
Edition: 2004
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Description: What motives underlie the ways humans interact socially? Are these the same for all societies? Are these part of our nature, or influenced by our environments? Over the last decade, research in experimental economics has emphatically falsified the  More...

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Book details

List price: $51.00
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 5/20/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 472
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.958
Language: English

What motives underlie the ways humans interact socially? Are these the same for all societies? Are these part of our nature, or influenced by our environments? Over the last decade, research in experimental economics has emphatically falsified the textbook representation of Homo economicus. Literally hundreds of experiments suggest that people care not only about their own material payoffs, but also about such things as fairness, equity and reciprocity. However, this research left fundamental questions unanswered: Are such social preferences stable components of human nature; or, are they modulated by economic, social and cultural environments? Until now, experimental research could not address this question because virtually all subjects had been university students, and while there are cultural differences among student populations throughout the world, these differences are small compared to the full range of human social and cultural environments. A vast amount of ethnographic and historical research suggests that people's motives are influenced by economic, social, and cultural environments, yet such methods can only yield circumstantial evidence about human motives. Combining ethnographic and experimental approaches to fill this gap, this book breaks new ground in reporting the results of a large cross-cultural study aimed at determining the sources of social (non-selfish) preferences that underlie the diversity of human sociality. The same experiments which provided evidence for social preferences among university students were performed in fifteen small-scale societies exhibiting a wide variety of social, economic and cultural conditions by experienced field researchers who had also done long-term ethnographic field work in these societies. The findings of these experiments demonstrated that no society in which experimental behaviour is consistent with the canonical model of self-interest. Indeed, results showed that the variation in behaviour is far greater than previously thought, and that the differences between societies in market integration and the importance of cooperation explain a substantial portion of this variation, which individual-level economic and demographic variables could not. Finally, the extent to which experimental play mirrors patterns of interaction found in everyday life is traced. The book starts with a succinct but substantive introduction to the use of game theory as an analytical tool and its use in the social sciences for the rigorous testing of hypotheses about fundamental aspects of social behaviour outside artificially constructed laboratories. The results of the fifteen case studies are summarized in a suggestive chapter about the scope of the project.

List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Contributors
Introduction and Guide to the Volume
Overview and Synthesis
Measuring Social Norms and Preferences Using Experimental Games: A Guide for Social Scientists
Coalitional Effects on Reciprocal Fairness in the Ultimatum Game: A Case from the Ecuadorian Amazon
Comparative Experimental Evidence from Machiguenga, Mapuche, Huinca, and American Populations
Dictators and Ultimatums in an Egalitarian Society of Hunter-Gatherers: The Hadza of Tanzania
Does Market Exposure Affect Economic Game Behavior? The Ultimatum Game and the Public Goods Game among the Tsimane' of Bolivia
Market Integration, Reciprocity, and Fairness in Rural Papua New Guinea: Results from a Two-Village Ultimatum Game Experiment
Ultimatum Game with an Ethnicity Manipulation: Results from Khovdiin Bulgan Sum, Mongolia
Kinship, Familiarity, and Trust: An Experimental Investigation
Community Structure, Mobility, and the Strength of Norms in an African Society: The Sangu of Tanzania
Market Integration and Fairness: Evidence from Ultimatum, Dictator, and Public Goods Experiments in East Africa
Economic Experiments to Examine Fairness and Cooperation among the Ache Indians of Paraguay
The Ultimatum Game, Fairness, and Cooperation among Big Game Hunters
Appendix
Index

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