Escaping the tragedy of the commons through targeted punishment

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Failures of cooperation cause many of society's gravest problems. It is well known that cooperation among many players faced with a social dilemma can be maintained thanks to the possibility of punishment, but achieving the initial state of widespread cooperation is often much more difficult. We show here that there exist strategies of ‘targeted punishment’ whereby a small number of punishers can shift a population of defectors into a state of global cooperation. We conclude by outlining how the international community could use a strategy of this kind to combat climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Article number150223
Number of pages9
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2015


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