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Emergence of Cooperation in a Model for Agricultural Production


  • Santiago Gil

    () (Complex Systems Group, Fritz-Haber-Institute der Max-Plank-Gesellschaft)

  • Aleix Serrat-Capdevila

    (Department of Hydrology and Water Resources and SAHRA, The University of Arizona)


The emergence of cooperation in a model for an artificial farming society is studied here by the use of an agent-based model. The system is composed of an ensemble of N agents assumed to have equal access to water, whose availability fluctuates randomly in time. Each agent makes two decisions every sowing season regarding: (1) the type of crop mix to plant and (2) whether s/he joins, or not, a cooperative group that allocates water amongst farmers to maximize the production and share revenues equally. Results show that the degree to which farmers choose to cooperate has a strong dependency on the mean water availability. Cooperation seems to emerge as a way of adaptation to uncertain environments by which individual risk is minimized.

Suggested Citation

  • Santiago Gil & Aleix Serrat-Capdevila, 2010. "Emergence of Cooperation in a Model for Agricultural Production," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage:, vol. 8(1), pages 1-12.
  • Handle: RePEc:zna:indecs:v:8:y:2010:i:1:p:1-12

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Göran Therborn & K.C. Ho, 2009. "Introduction," City, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 53-62, March.
    2. Keeney,Ralph L. & Raiffa,Howard, 1993. "Decisions with Multiple Objectives," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521438834, March.
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    More about this item


    cooperation; water uncertainty; farming; agent-based modelling; resource allocation;

    JEL classification:

    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water


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