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An Evolutionary Analysis of the Volunteer`s Dilemma

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  • David P. Myatt
  • Chris Wallace

Abstract

The volunteer`s dilemma is an asymmetric n-player binary-action game in which a public good is provided if and only if at least one player volunteers, and consequently bears some private cost. So long as the value generated for every player exceeds this private cost there are n pure-strategy Nash equilibria in each of which a single player volunteers. Quantal-response strategy revisions allow play to move between the different equilibria. A complete characterisation of long-run play as strategy revisions approximate best replies provides an equilibrium selection device. The volunteer need not be the lowest-cost player: relatively high-cost, but nonetheless stable players may instead provide the public good. The cost of provision is (weakly) reduced when higher values are associated with lower costs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 270.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2006
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:270

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Keywords: Volunteer`s Dilemma; Public Goods; Evolution; Equilibrium Selection; Concordance;

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References

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  1. Justin Pappas Johnson, 2002. "Open Source Software: Private Provision of a Public Good," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 637-662, December.
  2. Kandori, M. & Mailath, G.J., 1991. "Learning, Mutation, And Long Run Equilibria In Games," Papers 71, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program.
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  4. Kornhauser, Lewis & Rubinstein, Ariel & Wilson, Charles, 1989. "Reputation and Patience in the 'War of Attrition.'," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 56(221), pages 15-24, February.
  5. Bliss, Christopher & Nalebuff, Barry, 1984. "Dragon-slaying and ballroom dancing: The private supply of a public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 1-12, November.
  6. J. Bergin & B. Lipman, 2010. "Evolution with State-Dependent Mutations," Levine's Working Paper Archive 486, David K. Levine.
  7. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Rosenthal, Howard, 1984. "Participation and the provision of discrete public goods: a strategic analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 171-193, July.
  8. Carlsson, H. & Damme, E.E.C. van, 1990. "Global games and equilibrium selection," Discussion Paper 1990-52, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. Diekmann, Andreas, 1993. "Cooperation in an Asymmetric Volunteer's Dilemma Game: Theory and Experimental Evidence," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 75-85.
  10. Gradstein, Mark, 1994. "Efficient Provision of a Discrete Public Good," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(4), pages 877-97, November.
  11. David P. Myatt & Chris Wallace, 2002. "A Multinomial Probit Model of Stochastic Evolution," Economics Series Working Papers 90, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  12. repec:sae:ecolab:v:16:y:2006:i:2:p:1-2 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Gradstein, Mark, 1992. "Time Dynamics and Incomplete Information in the Private Provision of Public Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 581-97, June.
  14. Lawrence Blume, 1993. "The Statistical Mechanics of Best-Response Strategy Revision," Game Theory and Information 9307001, EconWPA, revised 26 Jan 1994.
  15. David P. Myatt, 2005. "Instant Exit from the Asymmetric War of Attrition," Economics Series Working Papers 160, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  16. David P. Myatt & Chris Wallace, 2006. "When Does One Bad Apple Spoil the Barrel? An Evolutionary Analysis of Collective Action," Economics Series Working Papers 269, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  17. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Breitmoser, Yves, 2010. "Structural modeling of altruistic giving," MPRA Paper 24262, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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