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Punishment of egoistic behavior is not rewarded
Date:11/14/2011

r 15 rounds of the game, could remove a random or specific player and play himself; the replacement of a specific player incurred a cost. The observer could also conceal which players he or she was observing at a cost. The players, in turn, could pay to ensure that the observer did not find out anything about a decision.

In the simple variant of the game, a group of four participants merely had to decide between uncooperative and cooperative behaviour. They were given an actual sum of money and could decide whether to pay part of it into a shared kitty or keep all of it for themselves. At the end of the round, the sum in the group kitty was doubled and distributed evenly among the participants. The more players that paid into the kitty, the more they all benefited from it - however, the egoists profited most at the cost of the altruists. Under these conditions, egoistic behaviour prevailed after a few repetitions of the game.

In contrast, altruistic behaviour could prove a successful strategy in the other two variants of the game. Each of the participants was able impose punishments on the other players upon completion of a round of the public goods game. The punishments were withdrawn from the account of the individual in question and he or she also had to contribute something for the punishment. In the third variant, having been informed about the contributions received and made by the potential recipient, each of the participants was able to make contributions to one of the other players and receive them from another depending on whether he or she had improved his reputation by paying into the group kitty.


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Contact: Manfred Milinski
milinski@evolbio.mpg.de
49-452-276-3254
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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