Meeting at Grand Central: Understanding the Social and Evolutionary Roots of Cooperation

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"An evolutionary psychologist and a political scientist somehow accomplish the spectacular feat of explaining human cooperation by delineating diverse accounts of the roadblocks to it. Cronk and Leech persuasively argue that cooperation is based in complicated emergent institutions surrounding indirect reciprocity but also in basic individual biological and evolutionary realities. They are a great team."—John R. Hibbing, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

"This is a wonderful book. Ambitious and beautifully written, it unites our understanding of cooperation across disciplinary divides—especially evolutionary biology and social science—and offers extremely useful comparisons of the various theories of cooperation from different fields, describing their origins, advocates, and controversies."—Dominic Johnson, University of Edinburgh

"Cronk and Leech argue for greater cross-fertilization between evolutionary biology and the social sciences in the study of cooperation, coordination, and the provision of collective goods. Meeting at Grand Central has the potential to serve as a catalyst that helps bring such interdisciplinary work into the mainstream."—Amy R. Poteete, coauthor of Working Together: Collective Action, the Commons, and Multiple Methods in Practice

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The study of cooperation is a multifield behemoth, and Meeting at Grand Central admirably covers considerable ground. Importantly, it does this in an accessible way, by describing select theories and concepts with clear and vivid examples. Seeing the current fragmented state of scholarship on cooperation as a coordination problem, and thus a problem of common knowledge, the authors also devote considerable time to developing a common set of definitions and concepts."—Daniel J. Hruschka, Current Anthropology

"Better understanding how cooperation emerges from the behavior of interacting individuals represents a crucial endeavor that can only benefit from a multifaceted approach. . . . I am hence confident that . . . readers, independent of their disciplinary background, will not only enjoy the reading, but also find it useful for their work and research."—Giangiacomo Bravo, International Journal of the Commons

"[T]he major strength of the book clearly lies in its ability to stimulate curiosity for further research. . . . [R]eaders who like to read scientific content in an easily accessible way and become inspired to read more will not be disappointed."—Julia Schindler, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation

"Cronk and Leech have provided a solid platform for taking the analysis of social cooperation and coordination in a variety of directions."—Richard E. Wagner, Review of Austrian Economics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691154954
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 1,041,312
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 2.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Lee Cronk is professor of anthropology at Rutgers University. He is the author of "That Complex Whole: Culture and the Evolution of Human Behavior". Beth L. Leech is associate professor of political science at Rutgers University. She is the coauthor of "Basic Interests: The Importance of Groups in Politics and in Political Science" (Princeton).

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Chapter 1 Cooperation, Coordination, and Collective Action 1

  • Box 1.1
    Experimental Economic Games 15

Chapter 2 Adaptation: A Special and Onerous Concept 18

Chapter 3 The Logic of Logic, and Beyond 47

  • Box 3.1
  • Types of Groups 49
  • Box 3.2
  • Types of Goods 53

Chapter 4 Cooperation and the Individual 72

  • Box 4.1
  • The Reciprocity Bandwagon 75
  • Box 4.2
  • The Prisoner's Dilemma Game 79

Chapter 5 Cooperation and Organizations 101

Chapter 6 Meeting at Penn Station: Coordination Problems and Cooperation 124

  • Box 6.1
  • Coordination Games 150

Chapter 7 Cooperation Emergent 151
Chapter 8 Meeting at Grand Central 169
Notes 189
References 207
Index 23

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