Working paper

Evolutionarily stable preferences

Ingela Alger


The 50-year old definition of an evolutionarily stable strategy provided a key tool for theorists to model ultimate drivers of behavior in social interactions. For decades economists ignored ultimate drivers and used models in which individuals choose strate-gies based on their preferences. This article summarizes some key findings in the literature on evolutionarily stable preferences, which in the past three decades has proposed models that combine the two approaches: Nature equips individuals with preferences, which deter-mine their strategy choices, which in turn determines evolutionary success. The objective is to highlight complementarities and potential avenues for future collaboration between biologists and economists.

See also

Published in

IAST working paper, n. 22-144, August 2022