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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 3 / 2023 (636), Autumn

The economics and evolution of heroic behavior

Radford University, USA

Abstract. This study uses a simulation model to explore the causes of ‘extreme civil heroism’: risking one’s life to help a stranger. The model uses a mixture of traditional economic thinking (based on rational self-interest) and human behavioral ecology (based on natural selection). Simulated agents choose between two competing communities (one with heroism and one without) by maximizing expected utility. Which community thrives is observed. Labor productivity, risk tolerance, perspectives on death, emergency response training and accident probability are analyzed as drivers of heroic community success. A preliminary assessment of the model is conducted using data from Eastern Europe. Avenues for future research are described.

Keywords: heroism, social simulation modeling, altruism, human behavioral ecology.

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The Economicity. The Epistemic Landscape, Marin Dinu, 2016


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