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Co-Operative Punishment Cements Social Cohesion

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Abstract

Most current attempts to explain the evolution - through individual selection - of pro-social behavior (i.e. behavior that favors the group) that allows for cohesive societies among non related individuals, focus on altruistic punishment as its evolutionary driving force. The main theoretical problem facing this line of research is that in the exercise of altruistic punishment the benefits of punishment are enjoyed collectively while its costs are borne individually. We propose that social cohesion might be achieved by a form of punishment, widely practiced among humans and animals forming bands and engaging in mob beatings, which we call co-operative punishment. This kind of punishment is contingent upon - not independent from - the concurrent participation of other actors. Its costs can be divided among group members in the same way as its benefits are, and it will be favoured by evolution as long as the benefits exceed the costs. We show with computer simulations that co-operative punishment is an evolutionary stable strategy that performs better in evolutionary terms than non-cooperative punishment, and demonstrate the evolvability and sustainability of pro-social behavior in an environment where not necessarily all individuals participate in co-operative punishment. Co-operative punishment together with pro-social behavior produces a self reinforcing system that allows the emergence of a 'Darwinian Leviathan' that strengthens social institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Klaus Jaffe & Luis Zaballa, 2010. "Co-Operative Punishment Cements Social Cohesion," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 13(3), pages 1-4.
  • Handle: RePEc:jas:jasssj:2009-36-3
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    File URL: http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/13/3/4/4.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Klaus Jaffe, 2014. "Visualizing the Invisible Hand of Markets: Simulating complex dynamic economic interactions," Papers 1412.6924, arXiv.org, revised Apr 2015.
    2. Mike Farjam & Marco Faillo & Ida Sprinkhuizen-Kuyper & Pim Haselager, 2015. "Punishment Mechanisms and Their Effect on Cooperation: A Simulation Study," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 18(1), pages 1-5.
    3. Klaus Jaffe, 2015. "Agent based simulations visualize Adam Smith's invisible hand by solving Friedrich Hayek's Economic Calculus," Papers 1509.04264, arXiv.org, revised Nov 2015.
    4. Roos, Patrick & Gelfand, Michele & Nau, Dana & Lun, Janetta, 2015. "Societal threat and cultural variation in the strength of social norms: An evolutionary basis," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 14-23.

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