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Cost-effective external interference for promoting the evolution of cooperation

Cost-effective external interference for promoting the evolution of cooperation
Cost-effective external interference for promoting the evolution of cooperation

The problem of promoting the evolution of cooperative behaviour within populations of self-regarding individuals has been intensively investigated across diverse fields of behavioural, social and computational sciences. In most studies, cooperation is assumed to emerge from the combined actions of participating individuals within the populations, without taking into account the possibility of external interference and how it can be performed in a cost-efficient way. Here, we bridge this gap by studying a cost-efficient interference model based on evolutionary game theory, where an exogenous decision-maker aims to ensure high levels of cooperation from a population of individuals playing the one-shot Prisoner's Dilemma, at a minimal cost. We derive analytical conditions for which an interference scheme or strategy can guarantee a given level of cooperation while at the same time minimising the total cost of investment (for rewarding cooperative behaviours), and show that the results are highly sensitive to the intensity of selection by interference. Interestingly, we show that a simple class of interference that makes investment decisions based on the population composition can lead to significantly more cost-efficient outcomes than standard institutional incentive strategies, especially in the case of weak selection.

2045-2322
1-9
Han, The Anh
b80447eb-91f3-449b-bfce-e5a6af0447d9
Tran-Thanh, Long
e0666669-d34b-460e-950d-e8b139fab16c
Han, The Anh
b80447eb-91f3-449b-bfce-e5a6af0447d9
Tran-Thanh, Long
e0666669-d34b-460e-950d-e8b139fab16c

Han, The Anh and Tran-Thanh, Long (2018) Cost-effective external interference for promoting the evolution of cooperation. Scientific Reports, 8 (1), 1-9. (doi:10.1038/s41598-018-34435-2).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The problem of promoting the evolution of cooperative behaviour within populations of self-regarding individuals has been intensively investigated across diverse fields of behavioural, social and computational sciences. In most studies, cooperation is assumed to emerge from the combined actions of participating individuals within the populations, without taking into account the possibility of external interference and how it can be performed in a cost-efficient way. Here, we bridge this gap by studying a cost-efficient interference model based on evolutionary game theory, where an exogenous decision-maker aims to ensure high levels of cooperation from a population of individuals playing the one-shot Prisoner's Dilemma, at a minimal cost. We derive analytical conditions for which an interference scheme or strategy can guarantee a given level of cooperation while at the same time minimising the total cost of investment (for rewarding cooperative behaviours), and show that the results are highly sensitive to the intensity of selection by interference. Interestingly, we show that a simple class of interference that makes investment decisions based on the population composition can lead to significantly more cost-efficient outcomes than standard institutional incentive strategies, especially in the case of weak selection.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 2 October 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 30 October 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 425939
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/425939
ISSN: 2045-2322
PURE UUID: bb878318-8f54-4b3d-a98a-61fbddefd887
ORCID for Long Tran-Thanh: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1617-8316

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Date deposited: 07 Nov 2018 17:30
Last modified: 03 Dec 2019 01:42

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Contributors

Author: The Anh Han
Author: Long Tran-Thanh ORCID iD

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