An Evolutionary Comparison of the Handicap Principle and Hybrid Equilibrium Theories of Signaling


Authors
Kevin Zollman
Carnegie Mellon University
Abstract
The handicap principle has come under significant challenge both from empirical studies and from theoretical work. As a result, a number of alternative explanations for honest signaling have been proposed. This paper compares the evolutionary plausibility of one such alternative, the "hybrid equilibrium," to the handicap principle. We utilize computer simulations to compare these two theories as they are instantiated in Maynard Smith's Sir Philip Sidney game. We conclude that, when both types of communication are possible, evolution is unlikely to lead to handicap signaling and is far more likely to result in the partially honest signaling predicted by hybrid equilibrium theory
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