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Sympathy and Punishment: Evolution of Cooperation in Public Goods Game

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An important way to maintain human cooperation is punishing defection. However, since punishment is costly, how can it arise and evolve given that individuals who contribute but do not punish fare better than the punishers? This leads to a violation of causality, since the evolution of punishment is prior to the one of cooperation behaviour in evolutionary dynamics. Our public goods game computer simulations based on generalized Moran Process, show that, if there exists a 'behaviour-based sympathy' that compensates those who punish at a personal cost, the way for the emergence and establishment of punishing behaviour is paved. In this way, the causality violation dissipates. Among humans sympathy can be expressed in many ways such as care, praise, solace, ethical support, admiration, and sometimes even adoration; in our computer simulations, we use a small amount of transfer payment to express 'behaviour-based sympathy'. Our conclusions indicate that, there exists co-evolution of sympathy, punishment and cooperation. According to classical philosophy literature, sympathy is a key factor in morality and justice is embodied by punishment; in modern societies, both the moral norms and the judicial system, the representations of sympathy and punishment, play an essential role in stable social cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Hang Ye & Fei Tan & Mei Ding & Yongmin Jia & Yefeng Chen, 2011. "Sympathy and Punishment: Evolution of Cooperation in Public Goods Game," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 14(4), pages 1-20.
  • Handle: RePEc:jas:jasssj:2010-88-2
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    File URL: http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/14/4/20/20.pdf
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    1. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Why free ride? : Strategies and learning in public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, December.
    2. Sally, David, 2001. "On sympathy and games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 1-30, January.
    3. Mark Isaac, R. & McCue, Kenneth F. & Plott, Charles R., 1985. "Public goods provision in an experimental environment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 51-74, February.
    4. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309-309.
    5. Andereoni, J., 1988. "Why Free Ride? Strategies And Learning In Public Goods Experiments," Working papers 375, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Wang, Yongjie & Chen, Tong & Chen, Qiao & Si, Guangrun, 2017. "Emotional decisions in structured populations for the evolution of public cooperation," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 468(C), pages 475-481.
    3. Wang, Yongjie & Chen, Tong, 2015. "Heuristics guide cooperative behaviors in public goods game," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 439(C), pages 59-65.
    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.
    5. Sergio F. Góngora y Moreno & J. Octavio Gutierrez-Garcia, 0. "Collective action in organizational structures," Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-33.
    6. repec:spr:comaot:v:24:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10588-017-9244-6 is not listed on IDEAS

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