Benefits of tolerance in public goods games

Attila Szolnoki, Xiaojie Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)


Leaving the joint enterprise when defection is unveiled is always a viable option to avoid being exploited. Although loner strategy helps the population not to be trapped into the tragedy of the commons state, it could offer only a modest income for nonparticipants. In this paper we demonstrate that showing some tolerance toward defectors could not only save cooperation in harsh environments but in fact results in a surprisingly high average payoff for group members in public goods games. Phase diagrams and the underlying spatial patterns reveal the high complexity of evolving states where cyclic dominant strategies or two-strategy alliances can characterize the final state of evolution. We identify microscopic mechanisms which are responsible for the superiority of global solutions containing tolerant players. This phenomenon is robust and can be observed both in well-mixed and in structured populations highlighting the importance of tolerance in our everyday life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number042813
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 27 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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