The Evolution of Cooperation: The Role of Costly Strategy Adjustments
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Econ, Eller Coll Management
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PublisherAMER ECONOMIC ASSOC
CitationRomero, Julian, and Yaroslav Rosokha. 2019. "The Evolution of Cooperation: The Role of Costly Strategy Adjustments." American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 11 (1): 299-328.
RightsCopyright © 2019 American Economic Association. All rights reserved.
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AbstractWe study the evolution of cooperation in the indefinitely repeated prisoner's dilemma when it is costly for players to adjust their strategy. Our experimental interface allows subjects to design a comprehensive strategy that then selects actions for them in every period. We conduct lab experiments in which subjects can adjust their strategies during a repeated game but may incur a cost for doing so. We find three main results. First, subjects learn to cooperate more when adjustments are costless than when they are costly. Second, subjects make more adjustments to their strategies when adjustments are costless, but they still make adjustments even when they are costly. Finally, we find that cooperative strategies emerge over time when adjustments are costless hut not when adjustments are costly. These results highlight that within-game experimentation is critical to the rise of cooperative behavior We provide simulations based on an evolutionary algorithm to support these results.
VersionFinal published version