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What Strategies Can Support the Evolutionary Emergence of Cooperation?

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Listed:
  • Jack Hirshleifer
  • Juan Carlos Martinez Coll

    (Center for International and Strategic Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles)

Abstract

Axelrod found TIT-FOR-TAT to be a highly successful strategy in the Prisoners' Dilemma payoff environment. He concluded that a natural selection process in favor of TIT-FOR-TAT explains the evolutionary emergence of cooperation. This article shows that, contrary to Axelrod, TIT-FOR-TAT does not approach 100% fixation in the population. More generally, TIT-FOR-TAT is not a robustly successful strategy if Axelrod's exact assumptions do not apply—for example, if there is a cost of complexity or a probability of error, or when players compete in an elimination contest rather than a round-robin tournament. In fact, it is unreasonable to expect any single strategy to win out in evolutionary competition. Constructively, we show that the presence of a PUNISHER strategy typically generates, consistent with observation, an interior equilibrium in which more and less cooperative strategies simultaneously coexist.

Suggested Citation

  • Jack Hirshleifer & Juan Carlos Martinez Coll, 1988. "What Strategies Can Support the Evolutionary Emergence of Cooperation?," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 32(2), pages 367-398, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:32:y:1988:i:2:p:367-398
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    Cited by:

    1. Skaperdas, Stergios & Syropoulos, Constantinos, 1996. "Can the shadow of the future harm cooperation?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 355-372, May.
    2. Weibull, Jörgen W., 1992. "An Introduction to Evolutionary Game Theory," Working Paper Series 347, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    3. Grant Hauer & C. Ford Runge, 1999. "Trade-Environment Linkages in the Resolution of Transboundary Externalities," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 25-39, January.
    4. Cooter, Robert D., 1996. "The theory of market modernization of law," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 141-172, June.
    5. Jack Hirshleifer, 1992. "The Affections and the Passions: Their Economic Logic," UCLA Economics Working Papers 652, UCLA Department of Economics.
    6. Sethi, Rajiv & Somanathan, E., 2003. "Understanding reciprocity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 1-27, January.
    7. Jack Hirshleifer, 1997. "Stability of Anarchic Societies," UCLA Economics Working Papers 769, UCLA Department of Economics.
    8. Dan Friedman, 2010. "Evolutionary Games in Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 392, David K. Levine.
    9. Jack Hirshleifer & Juan Carlos Martinez Coll, 1992. "Selection, Mutation, and the Preservation of Diversity in Evolutionary Games," UCLA Economics Working Papers 648, UCLA Department of Economics.
    10. Robert Hoffmann, 2001. "Social Cognition in the Evolutionary Chicken Game," Occasional Papers 2, Industrial Economics Division, revised 10 Apr 2001.
    11. Robert Hoffmann, 1999. "The Independent Localisations of Interaction and Learning in the Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 57-72, August.
    12. Antonio E. Bernardo & Ivo Welch, 2001. "On the Evolution of Overconfidence and Entrepreneurs," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 301-330, September.
    13. Baccini, Leonardo, 2012. "Democratization and trade policy: an empirical analysis of developing countries," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 44924, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. Jeffrey E. Prisbrey, 1993. "A Bounded Rationality, Evolutionary Model for Behavior in Two Person Reciprocity Games," Game Theory and Information 9312003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Stepan Cabelka & Jacek Cukrowski, 2001. "R&D in Duopoly with Spillovers: Evolution and Aspiration Learning," Industrial Organization 0012005, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Robert Hoffmann, 2001. "The Ecology of Cooperation," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 101-118, March.

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