Ilan Eshel, Avner Shaked

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Individuals are called partners when it is in their best interest to help each other, if by doing so they increase the probability of being together in the future when, for similar reasons, they will continue to help each other. Kinsmen or individuals who often face (hedonic) situations in which helping is the dominating strategy are committed to help each other. Partnership may develop among them since the loss of the other means the loss of a guaranteed helper. Thus, they may be willing to take additional risks to help each other. Partnership may occur among unrelated individuals and with no hedonic situations. Partnership creates bonds between partners which may be much stronger than those between kinsmen; an individual may take more risks for his partner than he will ever take for a kin. Partnership may evolve without the sophistication and memory required for reciprocation altruism. Although kin selection, partnership and reciprocation are likely to appear fused as the causes for altruism, we argue that it may be possible to distinguish between them in some situations. We show that as the partners get older partnership may become less important to them. We also show that like cooperation, and for analogous reasons, malice may evolve among partners so that each will be willing to take additional risks in order to eliminate the other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-474
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 21 Feb 2001


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