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Conditional Behavior Affects the Level of Evolved Cooperation in Public Good Games

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Janssen, Marco A.; Manning, Miles; Udiani, Oyita
Date: 2013
Agency: Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Series: CSID Working Paper Series, no. CSID-2013-007
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9131
Sector: Theory
Subject(s): public goods and bads
game theory
Abstract: "Human societies are unique in the level of cooperation among non-kin. Evolutionary models explaining this behavior typically assume pure strategies of cooperation and defection. Behavioral experiments, however, demonstrate that humans are typically conditional co-operators who have other-regarding preferences. Building on existing models on the evolution of cooperation and costly punishment, we use a utilitarian formulation of agent decision making to explore conditions that support the emergence of cooperative behavior. Our results indicate that cooperation levels are significantly lower for larger groups in contrast to the original pure strategy model. Here, defection behavior not only diminishes the public good, but also affects the expectations of group members leading conditional co-operators to change their strategies. Hence defection has a more damaging effect when decisions are based on expectations and not only pure strategies."

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