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Social Capital, Social Identities by Hans Bernhard Schmid, Christoph Henning, Dieter Thomä

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Partha Dasgupta

Trust and Cooperation among EconomicAgents

Introduction48

The units that are subject to selection pressure in evolutionary biology are “strategies” (Maynard Smith 1982; Nowak 2006), which are conditional actions, such as, “Do P if Q occurs”. In contrast, the units in economics select strategies from available menus so as to further their projects and purposes. As agency assumes a central role in the social sciences, economic units are called “agents”, or “parties”. Sometimes, we economists even call them “people”.

Robinson Crusoe aside, people don’t live in isolation. So, an agent’s optimum choice depends on the choices made by others. Moreover, as their projects and purposes involve not just the present but the future too, ...

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