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Commitment to Cooperation and Peer Punishment: Its Evolution

Faculty of Mathematics, University of Vienna, Vienna 1090, Austria
Department of Business Administration, Soka University, Tokyo 192-8577, Japan
Department of Information Systems and Operations, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna 1020, Austria
Research Center, RINRI Institute, Tokyo 101-8385, Japan
School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Martin A. Nowak and Christian Hilbe
Games 2015, 6(4), 574-587;
Received: 17 September 2015 / Revised: 20 October 2015 / Accepted: 23 October 2015 / Published: 3 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cooperation, Trust, and Reciprocity)
PDF [2427 KB, uploaded 3 November 2015]


Theoretical and empirical studies have generally weighed the effect of peer punishment and pool punishment for sanctioning free riders separately. However, these sanctioning mechanisms often pose a puzzling tradeoff between efficiency and stability in detecting and punishing free riders. Here, we combine the key aspects of these qualitatively different mechanisms in terms of evolutionary game theory. Based on the dilemmatic donation game, we introduce a strategy of commitment to both cooperation and peer punishment. To make the commitment credible, we assume that those willing to commit have to make a certain deposit. The deposit will be refunded as long as the committers faithfully cooperate in the donation game and punish free riders and non-committers. It turns out that the deposit-based commitment offers both the efficiency of peer punishment and the stability of pool punishment and that the replicator dynamics lead to transitions of different systems: pool punishment to commitment to peer punishment. View Full-Text
Keywords: evolution of cooperation; peer punishment; pool punishment; commitment; refundable deposit evolution of cooperation; peer punishment; pool punishment; commitment; refundable deposit

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Sasaki, T.; Okada, I.; Uchida, S.; Chen, X. Commitment to Cooperation and Peer Punishment: Its Evolution. Games 2015, 6, 574-587.

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