On the stability of cooperation under indirect reciprocity with first-order information

Ulrich Berger, Ansgar Grüne

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

15 Downloads (Pure)


Indirect reciprocity describes a class of reputation-based mechanisms which may explain the prevalence of cooperation in large groups where partners meet only once. The first model for which this has been demonstrated was the image scoring mechanism. But analytical work on the simplest possible case, the binary scoring model, has shown that even small errors in implementation destabilize any cooperative regime. It has thus been claimed that for indirect reciprocity to stabilize cooperation, assessments of reputation must be based on higher-order information. Is indirect reciprocity relying on first-order information doomed to fail? We use a simple analytical model of image scoring to show that this need not be the case. Indeed, in the general image scoring model the introduction of implementation errors has just the opposite effect as in the binary scoring model: it may stabilize instead of destabilize cooperation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19 - 33
JournalGames and Economic Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 101004 Biomathematics
  • 101017 Game theory
  • 502047 Economic theory

Cite this