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Evolutionary Dynamics in Public Good Games

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  • Christiane Clemens

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  • Thomas Riechmann

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Abstract

This paper explores the question whether boundedly rational agents learn to behave optimally when asked to voluntarily contribute to a public good. The dynamic game is described by an Evolutionary Algorithm, which is shown to extend the applicability of ordinary replicator dynamics of evolutionary game theory to problem sets characterized by finite populations and continuous strategy spaces. We analyze the learning process of purely and impurely altruistic agents and find in both cases the contribution level to converge towards the Nash equilibrium. The group size, the degree of initial heterogeneity and the propensity to experiment are key factors of the learning process. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Suggested Citation

  • Christiane Clemens & Thomas Riechmann, 2006. "Evolutionary Dynamics in Public Good Games," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 399-420, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:compec:v:28:y:2006:i:4:p:399-420
    DOI: 10.1007/s10614-006-9044-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fershtman, Chaim & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1991. "Dynamic voluntary provision of public goods," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 1057-1067, July.
    2. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
    3. Dixit, Avinash & Olson, Mancur, 2000. "Does voluntary participation undermine the Coase Theorem?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 309-335, June.
    4. 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.
    5. R. Isaac & James Walker & Susan Thomas, 1984. "Divergent evidence on free riding: An experimental examination of possible explanations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 113-149, January.
    6. Gale, John & Binmore, Kenneth G. & Samuelson, Larry, 1995. "Learning to be imperfect: The ultimatum game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 56-90.
    7. Binmore, K. & Samuelson, L. & Gale, J., 1993. "Learning to be Imperfect: The Ultimatum Game," Working papers 9325, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    8. Metcalfe, J S, 1994. "Competition, Fisher's Principle and Increasing Returns in the Selection Process," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 327-346, November.
    9. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215, January.
    10. 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.
    11. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
    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. Sugden, Robert, 1985. "Consistent conjectures and voluntary contributions to public goods: why the conventional theory does not work," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 117-124, June.
    14. Chris Birchenhall & Nikos Kastrinos & Stan Metcalfe, 1997. "Genetic algorithms in evolutionary modelling," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 375-393.
    15. 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 581-597, June.
    16. Riechmann, Thomas, 2001. "Genetic algorithm learning and evolutionary games," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(6-7), pages 1019-1037, June.
    17. Varian, Hal R., 1994. "Sequential contributions to public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 165-186, February.
    18. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Privately provided public goods in a large economy: The limits of altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 57-73, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ludo Waltman & Nees Eck & Rommert Dekker & Uzay Kaymak, 2011. "Economic modeling using evolutionary algorithms: the effect of a binary encoding of strategies," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 21(5), pages 737-756, December.
    2. Jaroslaw Stanczak, 2009. "Application of an evolutionary algorithmto simulation of the co2 emission permits marketwith purchase prices," Operations Research and Decisions, Wroclaw University of Technology, Institute of Organization and Management, vol. 4, pages 94-108.
    3. Pedro, de Mendonça, 2009. "Self-Enforcing Climate Change Treaties: A Generalized Differential Game Approach with Applications," MPRA Paper 17889, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Jaroslaw Stanczak, 2009. "Application of an evolutionary algorithm to simulation of the CO2 emission permits market with purchase prices," Operations Research and Decisions, Wroclaw University of Technology, Institute of Organization and Management, vol. 4, pages 93-108.
    5. repec:wut:journl:v:4:y:2009:p:94-108:id:148 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Hanauske, Matthias & Kunz, Jennifer & Bernius, Steffen & König, Wolfgang, 2010. "Doves and hawks in economics revisited: An evolutionary quantum game theory based analysis of financial crises," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 389(21), pages 5084-5102.

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