Runaway selection for cooperation and strict-and-severe punishment

Nakamaru, M. & Dieckmann, U. ORCID: (2009). Runaway selection for cooperation and strict-and-severe punishment. Journal of Theoretical Biology 257 (1) 1-8. 10.1016/j.jtbi.2008.09.004.

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Punishing defectors is an important means of stabilizing cooperation. When levels of cooperation and punishment are continuous, individuals must employ suitable social standards for defining defectors and for determining punishment levels. Here we investigate the evolution of a social reaction norm, or psychological response function, for determining the punishment level meted out by individuals in dependence on the cooperation level exhibited by their neighbors in a lattice-structured population. We find that (1) cooperation and punishment can undergo runaway selection, with evolution towards enhanced cooperation and an ever more demanding punishment reaction norm mutually reinforcing each other; (2) this mechanism works best when punishment is strict, so that ambiguities in defining defectors are small; (3) when the strictness of punishment can adapt jointly with the threshold and severity of punishment, evolution favors the strict-and-severe punishment of individuals who offer slightly less than average cooperation levels; (4) strict-and-severe punishment naturally evolves and leads to much enhanced cooperation when cooperation without punishment would be weak and neither cooperation nor punishment are too costly; and (5) such evolutionary dynamics enable the bootstrapping of cooperation and punishment, through which defectors who never punish gradually and steadily evolve into cooperators who punish those they define as defectors.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bootstrapping; Cooperation; Evolution; Lattice-structured population; Psychological response; Reaction norm; Social norm; Strict-and-severe punishment
Research Programs: Evolution and Ecology (EEP)
Bibliographic Reference: Journal of Theoretical Biology; 257(1):1-8 (7 March 2009) (Published online 18 September 2008)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:42
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:20

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