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Journal Articles Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Year : 2022

Cooperation as a signal of time preferences


Many evolutionary models explain why we cooperate with non-kin, but few explain why cooperative behaviour and trust vary. Here, we introduce a model of cooperation as a signal of time preferences, which addresses this variability. At equilibrium in our model (i) future-oriented individuals are more motivated to cooperate, (ii) future-oriented populations have access to a wider range of cooperative opportunities, and (iii) spontaneous and inconspicuous cooperation reveal stronger preference for the future, and therefore inspire more trust. Our theory sheds light on the variability of cooperative behaviour and trust. Since affluence tends to align with time preferences, results (i) and (ii) explain why cooperation is often associated with affluence, in surveys and field studies. Time preferences also explain why we trust others based on proxies for impulsivity, and, following result (iii), why uncalculating, subtle and one-shot cooperators are deemed particularly trustworthy. Time preferences provide a powerful and parsimonious explanatory lens, through which we can better understand the variability of trust and cooperation.
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hal-03899999 , version 1 (15-12-2022)



Julien Lie-Panis, Jean-Baptiste André. Cooperation as a signal of time preferences. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2022, 289 (1973), ⟨10.1098/rspb.2021.2266⟩. ⟨hal-03899999⟩
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