Punish, but not too hard

How costly punishment spreads in the spatial public goods game

Dirk Helbing, A. Szolnoki, Matjaž Perc, G. Szabó

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

176 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We study the evolution of cooperation in spatial public goods games where, besides the classical strategies of cooperation (C) and defection (D), we consider punishing cooperators (PC) or punishing defectors (PD) as an additional strategy. Using a minimalist modeling approach, our goal is to separately clarify and identify the consequences of the two punishing strategies. Since punishment is costly, punishing strategies lose the evolutionary competition in case of well-mixed interactions. When spatial interactions are taken into account, however, the outcome can be strikingly different, and cooperation may spread. The underlying mechanism depends on the character of the punishment strategy. In the case of cooperating punishers, increasing the fine results in a rising cooperation level. In contrast, in the presence of the PD strategy, the phase diagram exhibits a reentrant transition as the fine is increased. Accordingly, the level of cooperation shows a non-monotonous dependence on the fine. Remarkably, punishing strategies can spread in both cases, but based on largely different mechanisms, which depend on the cooperativeness (or not) of punishers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number083005
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 3 2010

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games
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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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Punish, but not too hard : How costly punishment spreads in the spatial public goods game. / Helbing, Dirk; Szolnoki, A.; Perc, Matjaž; Szabó, G.

In: New Journal of Physics, Vol. 12, 083005, 03.08.2010.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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