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Journal Article

Antisocial rewarding in structured populations


Peña,  Jorge
Department Evolutionary Theory, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Dos Santos, M., & Peña, J. (2017). Antisocial rewarding in structured populations. Scientific Reports, 7(1): 6212. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-06063-9.

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Cooperation in collective action dilemmas usually breaks down in the absence of additional incentive mechanisms. This tragedy can be escaped if cooperators have the possibility to invest in reward funds that are shared exclusively among cooperators (prosocial rewarding). Yet, the presence of defectors who do not contribute to the public good but do reward themselves (antisocial rewarding) deters cooperation in the absence of additional countermeasures. A recent simulation study suggests that spatial structure is sufficient to prevent antisocial rewarding from deterring cooperation. Here we reinvestigate this issue assuming mixed strategies and weak selection on a game-theoretic model of social interactions, which we also validate using individual-based simulations. We show that increasing reward funds facilitates the maintenance of prosocial rewarding but prevents its invasion, and that spatial structure can sometimes select against the evolution of prosocial rewarding. Our results suggest that, even in spatially structured populations, additional mechanisms are required to prevent antisocial rewarding from deterring cooperation in public goods dilemmas.