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 International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2007)

Group Selection and the Evolution of Cooperation in Iterated Prisoner Dilemmma Games

Ian Wilkinson
University of New South Wales

Dan Ladley
Computer Science, University of Leeds

Louise Young
School of Marketing, University of Technology Sydney

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     Last modified: August 16, 2007

The development of collaborative relations and networks among and within organisations is an important source of competitive advantage for firms, industries, regions and nations. Various theories of the emergence of cooperation have been proposed based on kinship ties and repeated interaction and reciprocity but they cannot account for the emergence of large scale cooperation among people and organisations that are ' strangers,' which characterises many types of business cooperation. Group selection mechanism can be used to provide another type of explanation for and a means for facilitating the emergence of cooperative behaviour in social and economic systems, including business relations and networks. We compare the results of group vs individual selection on the outcomes of IPD game evolutionary simulations, revisiting research done by Axelrod in the 80s and 90s. We demonstrate that group selection evolves fitter (better performing) strategies than does individual selection, because individual strategies as well the mixes of interacting strategies in groups co-evolve.

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