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Preferential Partner Selection in an Evolutionary Study of Prisoner's Dilemma

  • Dan Ashlock

    (Dept. of Mathematics, Iowa State Univ.)

  • Mark D. Smucker

    (Dept. of Computer Sciences, U of Wisc.-Madison)

  • E. Ann Stanley

    (Dept. of Math, Iowa State U)

  • Leigh Tesfatsion

    (Dept. of Econ and Dept. of Math, Iowa State U)

Partner selection is an important process in many social interactions, permitting individuals to decrease the risks associated with cooperation. In large populations, defectors may escape punishment by roving from partner to partner, but defectors in smaller populations risk social isolation. We investigate these possibilities for an evolutionary prisoner's dilemma in which agents use expected payoffs to choose and refuse partners. In comparison to random or round-robin partner matching, we find that the average payoffs attained with preferential partner selection tend to be more narrowly confined to a few isolated payoff regions. Most ecologies evolve to essentially full cooperative behavior, but when agents are intolerant of defections, or when the costs of refusal and social isolation are small, we also see the emergence of wallflower ecologies in which all agents are socially isolated. In between these two extremes, we see the emergence of ecologies whose agents tend to engage in a small number of defections followed by cooperation thereafter. The latter ecologies exhibit a plethora of interesting social interaction patterns. Keywords: Evolutionary Game; Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma; Partner Choice and Refusal; Artificial Life; Genetic Algorithm; Finite Automata

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 9501002.

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Date of creation: 18 Jan 1995
Date of revision: 20 Jan 1995
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:9501002
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  1. Hirshlifer, David & Rassmusen, Eric, 1989. "Cooperation in a repeated prisoners' dilemma with ostracism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 87-106, August.
  2. Tullock, Gordon, 1985. "Adam Smith and the Prisoners' Dilemma," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 1073-81, Supp..
  3. Stanley, E.A. & Ashlock, Daniel & Tesfatsion, Leigh, 1994. "Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma with Choice and Refusal of Partners," Staff General Research Papers 11180, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Marimon, Ramon & McGrattan, Ellen & Sargent, Thomas J., 1990. "Money as a medium of exchange in an economy with artificially intelligent agents," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 329-373, May.
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