Citing this article

A standard form of citation of this article is:

Back, István and Flache, Andreas (2006). 'The Viability of Cooperation Based on Interpersonal Commitment'. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 9(1)12 <http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/9/1/12.html>.

The following can be copied and pasted into a Bibtex bibliography file, for use with the LaTeX text processor:

@article{back2006,
title = {The Viability of Cooperation Based on Interpersonal Commitment},
author = {Back, Istv\'{a}n and Flache, Andreas},
journal = {Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation},
ISSN = {1460-7425},
volume = {9},
number = {1},
pages = {12},
year = {2006},
URL = {http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/9/1/12.html},
keywords = {Interpersonal Commitment, Fairness, Reciprocity, Agent-Based Simulation, Help Exchange, Evolution},
abstract = {A prominent explanation of cooperation in repeated exchange is reciprocity (e.g. Axelrod, 1984). However, empirical studies indicate that exchange partners are often much less intent on keeping the books balanced than Axelrod suggested. In particular, there is evidence for commitment behavior, indicating that people tend to build long-term cooperative relationships characterised by largely unconditional cooperation, and are inclined to hold on to them even when this appears to contradict self-interest. Using an agent-based computational model, we examine whether in a competitive environment commitment can be a more successful strategy than reciprocity. We move beyond previous computational models by proposing a method that allows to systematically explore an infinite space of possible exchange strategies. We use this method to carry out two sets of simulation experiments designed to assess the viability of commitment against a large set of potential competitors. In the first experiment, we find that although unconditional cooperation makes strategies vulnerable to exploitation, a strategy of commitment benefits more from being more unconditionally cooperative. The second experiment shows that tolerance improves the performance of reciprocity strategies but does not make them more successful than commitment. To explicate the underlying mechanism, we also study the spontaneous formation of exchange network structures in the simulated populations. It turns out that commitment strategies benefit from efficient networking: they spontaneously create a structure of exchange relations that ensures efficient division of labor. The problem with stricter reciprocity strategies is that they tend to spread interaction requests randomly across the population, to keep relations in balance. During times of great scarcity of exchange partners this structure is inefficient because it generates overlapping personal networks so that often too many people try to interact with the same partner at the same time.},
}

The following can be copied and pasted into a text file, which can then be imported into a reference database that supports imports using the RIS format, such as Reference Manager and EndNote.


TY - JOUR
TI - The Viability of Cooperation Based on Interpersonal Commitment
AU - Back, István
AU - Flache, Andreas
Y1 - 2006/01/31
JO - Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation
SN - 1460-7425
VL - 9
IS - 1
SP - 12
UR - http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/9/1/12.html
KW - Interpersonal Commitment
KW - Fairness
KW - Reciprocity
KW - Agent-Based Simulation
KW - Help Exchange
KW - Evolution
N2 - A prominent explanation of cooperation in repeated exchange is reciprocity (e.g. Axelrod, 1984). However, empirical studies indicate that exchange partners are often much less intent on keeping the books balanced than Axelrod suggested. In particular, there is evidence for commitment behavior, indicating that people tend to build long-term cooperative relationships characterised by largely unconditional cooperation, and are inclined to hold on to them even when this appears to contradict self-interest. Using an agent-based computational model, we examine whether in a competitive environment commitment can be a more successful strategy than reciprocity. We move beyond previous computational models by proposing a method that allows to systematically explore an infinite space of possible exchange strategies. We use this method to carry out two sets of simulation experiments designed to assess the viability of commitment against a large set of potential competitors. In the first experiment, we find that although unconditional cooperation makes strategies vulnerable to exploitation, a strategy of commitment benefits more from being more unconditionally cooperative. The second experiment shows that tolerance improves the performance of reciprocity strategies but does not make them more successful than commitment. To explicate the underlying mechanism, we also study the spontaneous formation of exchange network structures in the simulated populations. It turns out that commitment strategies benefit from efficient networking: they spontaneously create a structure of exchange relations that ensures efficient division of labor. The problem with stricter reciprocity strategies is that they tend to spread interaction requests randomly across the population, to keep relations in balance. During times of great scarcity of exchange partners this structure is inefficient because it generates overlapping personal networks so that often too many people try to interact with the same partner at the same time.
ER -