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Cooperation, Norms, and Revolutions: A Unified Game-Theoretical Approach

Helbing, D; Johansson, A; (2010) Cooperation, Norms, and Revolutions: A Unified Game-Theoretical Approach. PLOS ONE , 5 (10) , Article e12530. 10.1371/journal.pone.0012530. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Cooperation is of utmost importance to society as a whole, but is often challenged by individual self-interests. While game theory has studied this problem extensively, there is little work on interactions within and across groups with different preferences or beliefs. Yet, people from different social or cultural backgrounds often meet and interact. This can yield conflict, since behavior that is considered cooperative by one population might be perceived as non-cooperative from the viewpoint of another.Methodology and Principal Findings: To understand the dynamics and outcome of the competitive interactions within and between groups, we study game-dynamical replicator equations for multiple populations with incompatible interests and different power (be this due to different population sizes, material resources, social capital, or other factors). These equations allow us to address various important questions: For example, can cooperation in the prisoner's dilemma be promoted, when two interacting groups have different preferences? Under what conditions can costly punishment, or other mechanisms, foster the evolution of norms? When does cooperation fail, leading to antagonistic behavior, conflict, or even revolutions? And what incentives are needed to reach peaceful agreements between groups with conflicting interests?Conclusions and Significance: Our detailed quantitative analysis reveals a large variety of interesting results, which are relevant for society, law and economics, and have implications for the evolution of language and culture as well.

Type: Article
Title: Cooperation, Norms, and Revolutions: A Unified Game-Theoretical Approach
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012530
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0012530
Language: English
Additional information: © 2010 Helbing, Johansson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Partial support was provided by the Future and Emerging Technologies programme FP7-COSI-ICT of the European Commission through the project QLectives (grant no.: 231200) and the ETH Competence Center “Coping with Crises in Complex Socio-Economic Systems” (CCSS) through ETH Research Grant CH1-01 08-2 (Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule/Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Keywords: SOCIAL NORMS, EVOLUTIONARY GAMES, ALTRUISTIC PUNISHMENT, MATHEMATICAL-MODEL, RANDOM REPLICATORS, COLLECTIVE ACTION, ANIMAL SOCIETIES, ENFORCING NORMS, FOCAL POINTS, DYNAMICS
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/264237
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