Group-size effects on the evolution of cooperation in the spatial public goods game

Attila Szolnoki, Matjaž Perc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

99 Citations (Scopus)


We study the evolution of cooperation in public goods games on the square lattice, focusing on the effects that are brought about by different sizes of groups where individuals collect their payoffs and search for potential strategy donors. We find that increasing the group size does not necessarily lead to mean-field behavior, as is traditionally observed for games governed by pairwise interactions, but rather that public cooperation may be additionally promoted by means of enhanced spatial reciprocity that sets in for very large groups. Our results highlight that the promotion of cooperation due to spatial interactions is not rooted solely in having restricted connections among players, but also in individuals having the opportunity to collect payoffs separately from their direct opponents. Moreover, in large groups the presence of a small number of defectors is bearable, which makes the mixed-phase region expand with increasing group size. Having a chance of exploiting distant players, however, offers defectors a different way to break the phalanx of cooperators and even to resurrect from small numbers to eventually completely invade the population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number047102
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 28 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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