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Coevolution of cooperation, preferences, and cooperative signals in social dilemmas

Stephan Müller () and Georg von Wangenheim

University of Göttingen Working Papers in Economics from University of Goettingen, Department of Economics

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 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C73 D64 D82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-gth, nep-hpe and nep-soc
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:zbw:cegedp:221r

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