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Relatedness and synergies of kind and scale in the evolution of helping


  • Peña, Jorge
  • Nöldeke, Georg

    () (University of Basel)

  • Lehmann, Laurent


Relatedness and synergy affect the selection pressure on cooperation and altruism. Although early work investigated the effect of these factors independently of each other, recent efforts have been aimed at exploring their interplay. Here, we contribute to this ongoing synthesis in two distinct but complementary ways. First, we integrate models of n-player matrix games into the direct fitness approach of inclusive fitness theory, hence providing a framework to consider synergistic social interactions between relatives in family and spatially structured populations. Second, we illustrate the usefulness of this framework by delineating three distinct types of helping traits (“whole-group”, “nonexpresser-only” and “expresser-only”), which are characterized by different synergies of kind (arising from differential fitness effects on individuals expressing or not expressing helping) and can be subjected to different synergies of scale (arising from economies or diseconomies of scale). We find that relatedness and synergies of kind and scale can interact to generate nontrivial evolutionary dynamics, such as cases of bistable coexistence featuring both a stable equilibrium with a positive level of helping and an unstable helping threshold. This broadens the qualitative effects of relatedness (or spatial structure) on the evolution of helping.

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  • Peña, Jorge & Nöldeke, Georg & Lehmann, Laurent, 2014. "Relatedness and synergies of kind and scale in the evolution of helping," Working papers 2014/09, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  • Handle: RePEc:bsl:wpaper:2014/09

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Van Cleve, Jeremy & Lehmann, Laurent, 2013. "Stochastic stability and the evolution of coordination in spatially structured populations," Theoretical Population Biology, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 75-87.
    2. John Pepper, 2000. "Relatedness in Trait Group Models of Social Evolution," Working Papers 00-07-034, Santa Fe Institute.
    3. Ross Cressman, 2003. "Evolutionary Dynamics and Extensive Form Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262033054, August.
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    evolution of helping; relatedness; synergy; inclusive fitness; evolutionary games;

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