Freedom, enforcement, and the social dilemma of strong altruism

De Silva, Hannelore and Hauert, Christoph and Traulsen, Arne and Sigmund, Karl (2010) Freedom, enforcement, and the social dilemma of strong altruism. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 20 (2). pp. 203-217. ISSN 1432-1386

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Cooperation in joint enterprises poses a social dilemma. How can altruistic behavior be sustained if selfish alternatives provide a higher payoff? This social dilemma can be overcome by the threat of sanctions. But a sanctioning system is itself a public good and poses a second-order social dilemma. In this paper, we show by means of deterministic and stochastic evolutionary game theory that imitation-driven evolution can lead to the emergence of cooperation based on punishment, provided the participation in the joint enterprise is not compulsory. This surprising result - cooperation can be enforced if participation is voluntary - holds even in the case of 'strong altruism', when the benefits of a player's contribution are reaped by the other participants only. (authors' abstract)

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: We thank Martin Nowak for helpful discussions. Part of this work is funded by EUROCORES TECT I-104 G15. C.H. is supported by the John Templeton Foundation, NSERC, and the NSF/NIH joint program in mathematical biology (NIH grant R01GM078986). A.T. is supported by the Emmy-Noether program of the DFG.
Keywords: evolutionary game theory / public goods games / cooperation / costly punishment / social dilemma / strong altruism / voluntary interactions
Classification Codes: JEL C73
Divisions: Departments > Finance, Accounting and Statistics > Finance, Banking and Insurance
Version of the Document: Published
Variance from Published Version: None
Depositing User: Elena Simukovic
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2016 12:55
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2016 15:27
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