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Selfishness, Altruism, and Rationality

Why do we volunteer time? Why do we contribute money? Why, even, do we vote, if the effect of a single vote is negligible? Rationality-based microeconomic models are hard-pressed to explain such social behavior, but Howard Margolis proposes a solution. He suggests that within each person there are two selves, one selfish and the other group-oriented, and that the individual follows a Darwinian rule for allocating resources between those two selves.

"Howard Margolis’s intriguing ideas . . . provide an alternative to the crude models of rational choice that have dominated economics and political science for too long."—Times Literary Supplement

201 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1984

Economics and Business: Economics--General Theory and Principles

Table of Contents

Special notation
1. Overview
2. Paradoxes
3. A Darwinian argument
4. A new model
5. Applying the FS model
6. Translating across paradigms
7. Voting behavior
8. Leaders and followers
9. Sketch of further applications
Technical appendixes
A. Diagrammatic treatment of goods versus participation altruism
B. Detailed introduction of the FS model
C. Some properties of the FS model
D. Extended Lindahl-Samuelson equilibria
E. Coerced and voluntary spending
F. Interaction of FS and Schelling’s "inner struggle"
G. Notes on further psychological issues
Literature cited

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