The Evolution of Inequality Aversion in a Simplified Game of Life

45 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2014

See all articles by Stephan Müller

Stephan Müller

University of Goettingen (Göttingen)

Date Written: October 24, 2014


This paper applies the indirect evolutionary approach to study the evolution of inequality aversion in a simplified game of life. The game comprises a dilemma, a problem of coordination, and a problem of distribution as a general framework for the evolution of preferences. In single game environments, there emerges a global advantage for inequality-averse individuals in the dilemma and a global disadvantage for inequality-averse players who are favoured by the problem of distribution. The simplified game of life puts these strong predictions into perspective. In particular, selfish and inequality-averse individuals may coexist in the subpopulation, favoured in the problem of distribution.

Keywords: inequality aversion, evolution, preferences

JEL Classification: C72, C73

Suggested Citation

Müller, Stephan, The Evolution of Inequality Aversion in a Simplified Game of Life (October 24, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Stephan Müller (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Göttingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073

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