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Evolution in Teams


  • David P. Myatt
  • Chris Wallace


Team formation will often involve a coordination problem. If no-one else is contributing to a team, there is little point in an agent exerting any effort. Similarly, once a team is formed, an agent within the team will not leave, as to do so would result in team collapse; non-contributing agents would not join, as they currently receive the benefits of the team`s efforts whilst paying none of the costs. The methods of the stochastic adjustment dynamics literature can help select between these equilibria. Team and population size, and cost and benefit parameters all play a role in determining the chances of successful team formation. Increasing the pool of agents from which to choose team members seems at first glance to have a positive impact upon team formation. However, just one bad apple within the extended pool can have a disproportionate effect on the outcome. Although an agent with high participation costs would never contribute to a successful team, their mere presence alone can result in the failure of an otherwise successful team.

Suggested Citation

  • David P. Myatt & Chris Wallace, 2003. "Evolution in Teams," Economics Series Working Papers 177, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:177

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, January.
    2. Leslie M. Marx & Steven A. Matthews, 2000. "Dynamic Voluntary Contribution to a Public Project," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(2), pages 327-358.
    3. Carlsson, Hans & van Damme, Eric, 1993. "Global Games and Equilibrium Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 989-1018, September.
    4. Eduardo Ley, 1996. "On the private provision of public goods: a diagrammatic exposition," Investigaciones Economicas, FundaciĆ³n SEPI, vol. 20(1), pages 105-123, January.
    5. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2000. "Global Games: Theory and Applications," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1275R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Aug 2001.
    6. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
    7. 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.
    8. David P. Myatt & Hyun Song Shin & Chris Wallace, 2002. "The Assessment: Games and Coordination," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 397-417.
    9. David P. Myatt & Chris Wallace, 2002. "Equilibrium Selection and Public Good Provision," Economics Series Working Papers 103, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    10. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
    11. David P. Myatt & Chris Wallace, 2002. "Equilibrium Selection and Public-good Provision: The Development of Open-source Software," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 446-461.
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    More about this item


    collective action; evolution; teamwork; equilibrium selection;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods


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