Evolution of fairness and conditional cooperation in public goods dilemmas

Sven Van Segbroeck, Jorge M. Pacheco, Tom Lenaerts, Francisco C. Santos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


Cooperation prevails in many collective endeavours. To ensure that co-operators are not exploited by free riders, mechanisms need to be put into place to protect them. Direct reciprocity, one of these mechanisms, relies on the facts that individuals often interact more than once, and that they are capable of retaliating when exploited. Yet in groups, strategies targeting retaliation against specific group members may be unfeasible, because individuals may not be able to identify clearly who contributed and who did not. Still, they may assess what constitutes a fair income from a collective endeavour. We discuss here how conditional cooperation in group interactions emerges naturally and how natural selection leads populations to evolve towards a specific level of fairness (Van Segbroeck et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., 108:158104, 2012), contingent on the nature and size of the collective dilemma faced by individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpringer Proceedings in Complexity
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-00394-8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Publication series

NameSpringer Proceedings in Complexity
ISSN (Print)2213-8684
ISSN (Electronic)2213-8692


  • Evolutionary game theory
  • Fairness
  • N-Player games
  • Reciprocity
  • Repeated games


Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution of fairness and conditional cooperation in public goods dilemmas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this