Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
On Adverse Effects of Consumers’ Attaching Greater Importance to Firms’ Ethical Conduct
Previous Article in Journal / Special Issue
Team Incentives under Moral and Altruistic Preferences: Which Team to Choose?
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Strategic Behavior of Moralists and Altruists

1,2,* and 1,2,3,4
Toulouse School of Economics, CNRS, University of Toulouse Capitole, Toulouse, France
Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, Toulouse, France
Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Games 2017, 8(3), 38;
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 27 August 2017 / Accepted: 30 August 2017 / Published: 11 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics, Morality, and Game Theory)
PDF [971 KB, uploaded 11 September 2017]


Does altruism and morality lead to socially better outcomes in strategic interactions than selfishness? We shed some light on this complex and non-trivial issue by examining a few canonical strategic interactions played by egoists, altruists and moralists. By altruists, we mean people who do not only care about their own material payoffs but also about those to others, and, by a moralist, we mean someone who cares about own material payoff and also about what would be his or her material payoff if others were to act like himself or herself. It turns out that both altruism and morality may improve or worsen equilibrium outcomes, depending on the nature of the game. Not surprisingly, both altruism and morality improve the outcomes in standard public goods games. In infinitely repeated games, however, both altruism and morality may diminish the prospects of cooperation, and to different degrees. In coordination games, morality can eliminate socially inefficient equilibria while altruism cannot. View Full-Text
Keywords: altruism; morality; Homo moralis; repeated games; coordination games altruism; morality; Homo moralis; repeated games; coordination games

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Alger, I.; Weibull, J.W. Strategic Behavior of Moralists and Altruists. Games 2017, 8, 38.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Games EISSN 2073-4336 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top