Emergence of social punishment and cooperation through prior commitments

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Social punishment, whereby cooperators punish defectors, has been suggested as an important mechanism that promotes the emergence of cooperation or maintenance of social norms in the context of the one-shot (i.e. non-repeated) interaction. However, whenever antisocial punishment, whereby defectors punish cooperators, is available, this antisocial behavior outperforms social punishment, leading to the destruction of cooperation. In this paper, we use evolutionary game theory to show that this antisocial behavior can be efficiently restrained by relying on prior commitments, wherein agents can arrange, prior to an interaction, agreements regarding posterior compensation by those who dishonor the agreements. We show that, although the commitment mechanism by itself can guarantee a notable level of cooperation, a significantly higher level is achieved when both mechanisms, those of proposing prior commitments and of punishment, are available in co-presence. Interestingly, social punishment prevails and dominates in this system as it can take advantage of the commitment mechanism to cope with antisocial behaviors. That is, establishment of a commitment system helps to pave the way for the evolution of social punishment and abundant cooperation, even in the presence of antisocial punishment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication30th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2016
    PublisherAAAI press
    Number of pages7
    ISBN (Electronic)9781577357605
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2016
    Event30th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence - Phoenix, United States
    Duration: 12 Feb 201617 Feb 2016

    Publication series

    Name30th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2016


    Conference30th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence
    Abbreviated titleAAAI 2016
    Country/TerritoryUnited States


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