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Emergence of cooperation in public goods games

By Shun Kurokawa and Yasuo Ihara


Evolution of cooperation has been a major issue in evolutionary biology. Cooperation is observed not only in dyadic interactions, but also in social interactions involving more than two individuals. It has been argued that direct reciprocity cannot explain the emergence of cooperation in large groups because the basin of attraction for the ‘cooperative’ equilibrium state shrinks rapidly as the group size increases. However, this argument is based on the analysis of models that consider the deterministic process. More recently, stochastic models of two-player games have been developed and the conditions for natural selection to favour the emergence of cooperation in finite populations have been specified. These conditions have been given as a mathematically simple expression, which is called the one-third law. In this paper, we investigate a stochastic model of n-player games and show that natural selection can favour a reciprocator replacing a population of defectors in the n-player repeated Prisoner's Dilemma game. We also derive a generalized version of the one-third law (the {2/[n(n+1)]}1/(n−1) law). Additionally, contrary to previous studies, the model suggests that the evolution of cooperation in public goods game can be facilitated by larger group size under certain conditions

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: The Royal Society
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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