Indirect reciprocity provides a narrow margin of efficiency for costly punishment
ABSTRACT Indirect reciprocity is a key mechanism for the evolution of human cooperation. Our behaviour towards other people depends not only on what they have done to us but also on what they have done to others. Indirect reciprocity works through reputation. The standard model of indirect reciprocity offers a binary choice: people can either cooperate or defect. Cooperation implies a cost for the donor and a benefit for the recipient. Defection has no cost and yields no benefit. Currently there is considerable interest in studying the effect of costly (or altruistic) punishment on human behaviour. Punishment implies a cost for the punished person. Costly punishment means that the punisher also pays a cost. It has been suggested that costly punishment between individuals can promote cooperation. Here we study the role of costly punishment in an explicit model of indirect reciprocity. We analyse all social norms, which depend on the action of the donor and the reputation of the recipient. We allow errors in assigning reputation and study gossip as a mechanism for establishing coherence. We characterize all strategies that allow the evolutionary stability of cooperation. Some of those strategies use costly punishment; others do not. We find that punishment strategies typically reduce the average payoff of the population. Consequently, there is only a small parameter region where costly punishment leads to an efficient equilibrium. In most cases the population does better by not using costly punishment. The efficient strategy for indirect reciprocity is to withhold help for defectors rather than punishing them.
SourceAvailable from: Małgorzata Szcześniak[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Some of the most basic questions concerning human reactions to kindness or helping behaviour of others are centred around issues of gratitude, appreciation or direct reciprocity (I help you, you help me). However, theoretical and experimental investigations indicate that indirect reciprocity (I help you, somebody will help me; You help me, I will help someone else) also is a part of the vast range of relational interactions. The article examines the topic of indirect reciprocity, especially in its “upstream” version, from a cultural perspective. The research was conducted on the group of 294 participants (98 Hindu, 98 Polish, and 98 Italian students).
Article: Human Cooperation, Evolution of[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Human cooperation is a novel evolutionary puzzle because we cooperate with genetically unrelated individuals in groups that comprise millions of people. Direct reciprocity, especially when considering errors in behavior, has shed light on pairwise cooperation among well-known but genetically unrelated people. Three mechanisms have been identified to explain large-scale cooperation in humans. Cooperation can evolve by indirect reciprocity in groups as long as people can observe each other’s behavior, or can garner honest information via gossip on who cooperates and defects in their interactions. Humans also have a disposition to cooperate and to punish those who do not, even at a cost to oneself, and such costly punishment can sustain cooperation in even larger groups of people who do not know much about each other. Cultural group selection explains the scale of human cooperation, why it is variable, and why norms enforced by sanctions are group-beneficial. Support for these theories has come from laboratory experiments using a variety of behavioral economic games, and from field studies in small-scale societies. Key open questions include understanding what characterizes goodness in indirect reciprocity, why gossip is sufficiently accurate, and why people are motivated to engage in costly punishment.
Dataset: Powering Up