Freedom, enforcement, and the social dilemma of strong altruism

Hannelore De Silva, Christoph Hauert, Arne Traulsen, Karl Sigmund

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203 - 217
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Economics
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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