Why people punish defectors. Weak conformist transmission can stabilize costly enforcement of norms in cooperative dilemmas.

  title={Why people punish defectors. Weak conformist transmission can stabilize costly enforcement of norms in cooperative dilemmas.},
  author={Joseph Henrich and Robert T. Boyd},
  journal={Journal of theoretical biology},
  volume={208 1},
In this paper, we present a cultural evolutionary model in which norms for cooperation and punishment are acquired via two cognitive mechanisms: (1) payoff-biased transmission-a tendency to copy the most successful individual; and (2) conformist transmission-a tendency to copy the most frequent behavior in the population. We first show that if a finite number of punishment stages is permitted (e.g. two stages of punishment occur if some individuals punish people who fail to punish non… 

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