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A Computational Approach to the Collective Action Problem: Assessment of Alternative Learning Rules

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  • Juan Montoro-Pons
  • Francisco Garcia-Sobrecases
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    Abstract

    We sketch here the basis of a behavioral theory of non-market decision making or collective action. Departing from the basic social problem, the coordination of individual actions when individual rationality is opposed to collective rationality, we model a population of agents choosing their level of individual cooperation. The social dilemma that emerges may be solved in a bounded rationality evolutionary context. We find that the efficiency embodied in the solutions is dependent on the type of learning individuals adopt. Additional returns to the individual from collective contributions and discounting the future play key roles in the determination of the solution. We conclude that the emergent properties of the social cooperation agree with the findings in the experimental literature: cooperation, although not optimal, is a fact, and institutional settings affect the outcomes in a significant way. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Society for Computational Economics in its journal Computational Economics.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 1 (February)
    Pages: 137-151

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:compec:v:21:y:2003:i:1:p:137-151

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100248
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    Related research

    Keywords: social dilemma; classified systems; cooperation; imitation; individual learning; social learning;

    References

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    1. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin A & Smith, Vernon L, 1998. "Behavioral Foundations of Reciprocity: Experimental Economics and Evolutionary Psychology," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 335-52, July.
    2. Kirchkamp, Oliver, 1996. "Simultaneous Evolution of Learning Rules and Strategies," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 98-46, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    3. Palfrey, Thomas R & Prisbrey, Jeffrey E, 1997. "Anomalous Behavior in Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 829-46, December.
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    5. John Conlisk, 1996. "Why Bounded Rationality?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 669-700, June.
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    8. Sefton, Martin & Steinberg, Richard, 1996. "Reward structures in public good experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 263-287, August.
    9. Marc WILLINGER & Anthony ZIEGELMEYER, 1999. "Framing and cooperation in public good games: an experiment with an interior solution," Working Papers of BETA 9901, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    10. Harald Uhlig & Martin Lettau, 1999. "Rules of Thumb versus Dynamic Programming," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 148-174, March.
    11. Cason, Timothy N. & Khan, Feisal U., 1999. "A laboratory study of voluntary public goods provision with imperfect monitoring and communication," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 533-552, April.
    12. Thomas Riechmann, 1999. "Learning and behavioral stability An economic interpretation of genetic algorithms," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 225-242.
    13. Vriend, Nicolaas J., 2000. "An illustration of the essential difference between individual and social learning, and its consequences for computational analyses," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 1-19, January.
    14. Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur & Offerman, Theo, 1999. "Strategic behavior in public good games: when partners drift apart," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 35-41, January.
    15. Elliott, Catherine S. & Hayward, Donald M. & Canon, Sebastian, 1998. "Institutional framing: Some experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 455-464, May.
    16. Dawes, Robyn M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: Cooperation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 187-97, Summer.
    17. Keser, Claudia, 1996. "Voluntary contributions to a public good when partial contribution is a dominant strategy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 359-366, March.
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