The role of persuasion in cultural evolution dynamics

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We analyze the evolution of a society in which types evolve not only depending on how much they are fit but also on how much they are able to persuade others about their fitness. This mechanism makes possible to reach equilibria not feasible under standard dynamics. We first provide necessary conditions for a generic matrix and generic class of cultural competition mechanisms in order to observe polymorphic equilibria, comparing it with the standard case. Then, necessary and sufficient conditions for polymorphic equilibrium stability are provided in the case of particular competition rule family, at each competition level. We show that some social dilemmas as prisoner’s dilemma or stag hunt can have their dynamics dramatically changed. We then analyze the prisoner’s dilemma framework finding that also full cooperation is sustainable in equilibrium. Finally we show that this persuasion mechanisms generally increase the equilibrium aggregate production of the society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-258
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Review of Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Cooperation
  • Cultural evolution
  • Cultural transmission
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)2001 Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Evolutionary selection
  • Prisoner’s dilemma


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