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Directional learning and the provisioning of public goods

Nax, Heinrich H. and Perc, Matjaž (2015) Directional learning and the provisioning of public goods. Scientific Reports, 5. p. 8010. ISSN 2045-2322

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Identification Number: 10.1038/srep08010


We consider an environment where players are involved in a public goods game and must decide repeatedly whether to make an individual contribution or not. However, players lack strategically relevant information about the game and about the other players in the population. The resulting behavior of players is completely uncoupled from such information, and the individual strategy adjustment dynamics are driven only by reinforcement feedbacks from each player's own past. We show that the resulting “directional learning” is sufficient to explain cooperative deviations away from the Nash equilibrium. We introduce the concept of k–strong equilibria, which nest both the Nash equilibrium and the Aumann-strong equilibrium as two special cases, and we show that, together with the parameters of the learning model, the maximal k–strength of equilibrium determines the stationary distribution. The provisioning of public goods can be secured even under adverse conditions, as long as players are sufficiently responsive to the changes in their own payoffs and adjust their actions accordingly. Substantial levels of public cooperation can thus be explained without arguments involving selflessness or social preferences, solely on the basis of uncoordinated directional (mis)learning.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors © CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Divisions: CPNSS
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2016 09:38
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2024 00:15
Projects: Advanced Investigator Grant Momentum 324247, Grant 76-130-35-HiCi, P5-0027
Funders: European Research Council, Deanship of Scientific Research, King Abdulaziz University, Slovenian Research Agency

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