A homoclinic route to asymptotic full cooperation in adaptive networks and its failure

G. Zschaler, A. Traulsen, T. Gross
New J. Phys. 12 (2010), 093015

We consider the evolutionary dynamics of a cooperative game on an adaptive network, where the strategies of agents (cooperation or defection) feed back on their local interaction topology. While mutual cooperation is the social optimum, unilateral defection yields a higher payoff and undermines the evolution of cooperation. Although no a priori advantage is given to cooperators, an intrinsic dynamical mechanism can lead asymptotically to a state of full cooperation. In finite systems, this state is characterized by long periods of strong cooperation interrupted by sudden episodes of predominant defection, suggesting a possible mechanism for the systemic failure of cooperation in real-world systems.

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