Wichardt, Philipp C. (Januar 2007): Why and How Identity Should Influence Utility. SFB/TR 15 Discussion Paper No. 193




This paper provides an argument for the advantage of a preference for identity-consistent behaviour from an evolutionary point of view. Within a stylised model of social interaction, we show that the development of cooperative social norms is greatly facilitated if the agents of the society possess a preference for identity consistent behaviour. As cooperative norms have a positive impact on aggregate outcomes, we conclude that such preferences are evolutionarily advantageous. Furthermore, we discuss how such a preference can be integrated in the modelling of utility in order to account for the distinctive cooperative trait in human behaviour and show how this squares with the evidence.