Reputation helps solve the ‘tragedy of the commons’

  title={Reputation helps solve the ‘tragedy of the commons’},
  author={Manfred Milinski and Dirk Semmann and Hans Juergen Krambeck},
The problem of sustaining a public resource that everybody is free to overuse—the ‘tragedy of the commons’—emerges in many social dilemmas, such as our inability to sustain the global climate. Public goods experiments, which are used to study this type of problem, usually confirm that the collective benefit will not be produced. Because individuals and countries often participate in several social games simultaneously, the interaction of these games may provide a sophisticated way by which to… 
Reputation and punishment sustain cooperation in the optional public goods game
This paper introduces social norms that allow agents to condition their behaviour to the reputation of their peers, and finds that a social norm imposing a more moderate reputational penalty for opting out than for defecting increases cooperation.
Local stability of cooperation in a continuous model of indirect reciprocity
This work derives a condition that a social norm should satisfy to give penalties to its close variants, provided that everyone initially cooperates with a good reputation, and this result is supported by numerical simulation.
Stochasticity in economic losses increases the value of reputation in indirect reciprocity
It is found that players with a reputation of being generous were generally more likely to receive help by others, such that investing into a good reputation generated long-term benefits that compensated for the immediate costs of helping.
The competition of assessment rules for indirect reciprocity.
Volunteering leads to rock–paper–scissors dynamics in a public goods game
It is shown experimentally that volunteering generates dynamics in public goods games and that manipulating initial conditions can produce each predicted direction, and that cooperation is perpetuated at a substantial level.
Indirect reciprocity can stabilize cooperation without the second-order free rider problem
It is shown that the threat of exclusion from indirect reciprocity can sustain collective action in the laboratory, and that such exclusion is evolutionarily stable, providing an incentive to engage in costly cooperation, while avoiding the second-order free rider problem.
The Benefit of Anonymity in Public Goods Games
Previous work has found that in social dilemmas, the selfish always free-ride, while others will cooperate if they expect their peers to do so as well. Outcomes may thus depend on conditional
Gossip and competitive altruism support cooperation in a Public Good game
This study fills a theoretical and empirical gap by showing that partner choice increases both cooperation and honesty of gossip.


The Dynamics of Indirect Reciprocity
Richard Alexander has argued that moral systems derive from indirect reciprocity. We analyse a simple case of a model of indirect reciprocity based on image scoring. Discriminators provide help to
Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments
This paper provides evidence that free riders are heavily punished even if punishment is costly and does not provide any material benefits for the punisher. The more free riders negatively deviate
Reward and punishment
The analysis suggests that reputation is essential for fostering social behavior among selfish agents, and that it is considerably more effective with punishment than with reward.
Evolution of indirect reciprocity by image scoring
It is proposed that the emergence of indirect reciprocity was a decisive step for the evolution of human societies and the probability of knowing the ‘image’ of the recipient must exceed the cost-to-benefit ratio of the altruistic act.
Cooperation through image scoring in humans.
It is shown that image scoring promotes cooperative behavior in situations where direct reciprocity is unlikely, unless indirect reciprocity takes place and is based on image scoring, as recently shown by game theorists.
Cooperation through indirect reciprocity: image scoring or standing strategy?
A new theoretical study confirmed that a strategy aiming at 'good standing' has superior properties and easily beats image scoring, and a new empirical study with 23 groups of seven human subjects each was designed for distinguishing between the two proposed mechanisms experimentally.
Social Status and Group Norms: Indirect Reciprocity in a Helping Experiment
Experimental evidence is provided showing that indirect reciprocity is important in economic decision making and in the development of group norms. We study a so called repeated helping game with
Evolution of cooperation between individuals
The presence of phenotypic defectors paradoxically allows persistent discriminating cooperation under a much wider range of conditions than found by Nowak and Sigmund because there is selection against both defection and unconditional altruism.
Extensions of "The Tragedy of the Commons"
Garrett Hardin is professor emeritus of human ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of a dozen books based on many short papers, the best known of which are “[The