Economic contract theory tests models of mutualism.

@article{Weyl2010EconomicCT,
  title={Economic contract theory tests models of mutualism.},
  author={E. Glen Weyl and Megan E Frederickson and Douglas W. Yu and Naomi E Pierce},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
  year={2010},
  volume={107 36},
  pages={15712-6}
}
Although mutualisms are common in all ecological communities and have played key roles in the diversification of life, our current understanding of the evolution of cooperation applies mostly to social behavior within a species. A central question is whether mutualisms persist because hosts have evolved costly punishment of cheaters. Here, we use the economic theory of employment contracts to formulate and distinguish between two mechanisms that have been proposed to prevent cheating in host… CONTINUE READING

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