Coevolution of Cooperation, Preferences, and Cooperative Signals in Social Dilemmas

Center for European, Governance, and Economic Development Research, Discussion Paper No. 221, Revised 2019

59 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2019

See all articles by Stephan Müller

Stephan Müller

University of Goettingen (Göttingen)

Georg von Wangenheim

University of Kassel

Date Written: June 2019

Abstract

We study the coevolution of cooperation, preferences, and cooperative signals in an environment where individuals engage in a signaling-extended prisoner’s dilemma. We prove the existence of a cooperative equilibrium constituted by a (set of) limit cycle(s) and stabilized by the dynamic interaction of multiple Bayesian equilibria. This equilibrium: (1) exists under mild conditions, and (2) can stabilize a population that is characterized by the heterogeneity of behavior, preferences, and signaling. We thereby offer an explanation for the persistent regularities observed in laboratory and field data on cooperative behavior. The cyclicity of the equilibrium offers an alternative account for observed historical changes in (social norms of) cooperation in societies which are not driven by social or environmental shocks.

Keywords: Evolutionary Game Theory, Cooperation, Preferences, Signaling

JEL Classification: C73, D64, D82

Suggested Citation

Müller, Stephan and von Wangenheim, Georg, Coevolution of Cooperation, Preferences, and Cooperative Signals in Social Dilemmas (June 2019). Center for European, Governance, and Economic Development Research, Discussion Paper No. 221, Revised 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3402484 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3402484

Stephan Müller (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Göttingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

Georg Von Wangenheim

University of Kassel ( email )

Department of Economics
D-34109 Kassel
Germany
+49-561-804 1946 (Phone)
+49-561-804 2818 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.wirtschaft.uni-kassel.de/vonWangenheim/

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