Quotation De Silva, Hannelore and Hauert, Christoph and Traulsen, Arne and Sigmund, Karl. 2010. Freedom, enforcement, and the social dilemma of strong altruism. Journal of Evolutionary Economics 20 (2), 203-217.




Cooperation in joint enterprises poses a social dilemma. How can altruistic behavior be sustained if selfish alternatives provide a higher payoff? This social dilemma can be overcome by the threat of sanctions. But a sanctioning system is itself a public good and poses a second-order social dilemma. In this paper, we show by means of deterministic and stochastic evolutionary game theory that imitation-driven evolution can lead to the emergence of cooperation based on punishment, provided the participation in the joint enterprise is not compulsory. This surprising result - cooperation can be enforced if participation is voluntary - holds even in the case of 'strong altruism', when the benefits of a player's contribution are reaped by the other participants only.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Journal of Evolutionary Economics
Citation Index SSCI
WU Journalrating 2009 A
WU-Journal-Rating new VW-D
Language English
Title Freedom, enforcement, and the social dilemma of strong altruism
Volume 20
Number 2
Year 2010
Page from 203
Page to 217
Reviewed? Y
URL http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00191-009-0162-8
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00191-009-0162-8


De Silva, Hannelore (Details)
Hauert, Christoph (UBC Vancouver, Canada)
Sigmund, Karl (Uni Wien, Austria)
Traulsen, Arne (Max Planck Institut Plön, Germany)
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