The emergence of commitments and cooperation

The Anh Han, Luís Moniz Pereira, Francisco C. Santos

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Agents make commitments towards others in order to influence others in a certain way, often by dismissing more profitable options. Most commitments depend on some incentive that is necessary to ensure that the action is in the agent's interest and thus, may be carried out to avoid eventual penalties. The capacity for using commitment strategies effectively is so important that natural selection may have shaped specialized capacities to make this possible. Evolutionary explanations for commitment, particularly its role in the evolution of cooperation, have been actively sought for and discussed in several fields, including Psychology and Philosophy. In this paper, using the tools of evolutionary game theory, we provide a new model showing that individuals tend to engage in commitments, which leads to the emergence of cooperation even without assuming repeated interactions. The model is characterized by two key parameters: the punishment cost of failing commitment imposed on either side of a commitment, and the cost of managing the commitment deal. Our analytical results and extensive computer simulations show that cooperation can emerge if the punishment cost is large enough compared to the management cost.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012
    EventThe 11th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems: Innovative Applications Track - Valencia, Spain
    Duration: 4 Jun 20128 Jun 2012
    Conference number: 11


    ConferenceThe 11th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems
    Abbreviated titleAAMAS 2012


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