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.
|Pages (from-to)||203 - 217|
|Journal||Journal of Evolutionary Economics|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|