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Nature. 2005 Sep 22;437(7058):E8; discussion E8-9.

Human cooperation: second-order free-riding problem solved?

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  • 1Department of Political Science, University of California at Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, USA jhfowler@ucdavis.edu

Abstract

Panchanathan and Boyd describe a model of indirect reciprocity in which mutual aid among cooperators can promote large-scale human cooperation without succumbing to a second-order free-riding problem (whereby individuals receive but do not give aid). However, the model does not include second-order free riders as one of the possible behavioural types. Here I present a simplified version of their model to demonstrate how cooperation unravels if second-round defectors enter the population, and this shows that the free-riding problem remains unsolved.

PMID:
16177738
DOI:
10.1038/nature04201
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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