The Role of Rewards in Motivating Participation in Simple Warfare

Luke Glowacki, Richard W. Wrangham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the absence of explicit punitive sanctions, why do individuals voluntarily participate in intergroup warfare when doing so incurs a mortality risk? Here we consider the motivation of individuals for participating in warfare. We hypothesize that in addition to other considerations, individuals are incentivized by the possibility of rewards. We test a prediction of this "cultural rewards war-risk hypothesis" with ethnographic literature on warfare in small-scale societies. We find that a greater number of benefits from warfare is associated with a higher rate of death from conflict. This provides preliminary support for the relationship between rewards and participation in warfare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-460
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Nature
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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