The social evolution of genocide across time and geographic space: Perspectives from evolutionary game theory


  • Charles H. Anderton College of the Holy Cross Department of Economics Worcester, MA



Genocide, social evolution, peacekeeping, aggression, Holocaust


A standard evolutionary game theory model is used to reveal the interpersonal and geographic characteristics of a population that make it vulnerable to accepting the genocidal aims of political leaders. Under conditions identified in the space-less version of the model, genocide architects can engineer the social metamorphosis of a peaceful people-group into one that supports, or does not resist, the architects’ atrocity goals. The model reveals policy interventions that prevent the social evolution of genocide among the population. The model is then extended into geographic space by analyzing interactions among peaceful and aggressive phenotypes in a Moore neighborhood. Key concepts of the analyses are applied to the onset and spread of genocide during the Holocaust (1938-1945) and to the prevention of genocide in Côte d'Ivoire (2011). [JEL codes: C73, D74]

Author Biography

Charles H. Anderton, College of the Holy Cross Department of Economics Worcester, MA

Professor of Economics


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How to Cite

Anderton, C. H. (2015). The social evolution of genocide across time and geographic space: Perspectives from evolutionary game theory. The Economics of Peace and Security Journal, 10(2).




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