Larry David and anonymous donations

FAVL gets several anonymous donations a year and I have no idea who they are from… (they come from a fund or a bank).  So let me say thank you right here!

What’s intriguing about anonymous giving, and other behaviors apparently designed to obscure good traits and acts, like modesty, is that it’s “hard to reconcile with standard evolutionary accounts of pro-social behavior,” the researchers write. Donations fall under a form of cooperation called “indirect reciprocity.” “Direct reciprocity is like a barter economy based on the immediate exchange of goods, while indirect reciprocity resembles the invention of money,” Nowak wrote in his highly cited 2006 paper “Five Rules for the Evolution of Cooperation.” “The money that fuels the engines of indirect reciprocity is reputation.” Donation evolved, in other words, because it granted a good reputation, which helped humans in securing mates and cementing alliances. But if that’s true, how did the practice of anonymous giving arise? The title of the new paper suggests a solution: “The signal-burying game can explain why we obscure positive traits and good deeds.”

Source: Larry David and the Game Theory of Anonymous Donations

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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