The Emergence of Cooperation in Public Goods Games on Randomly Growing Dynamic Networks

Steve Miller, Joshua Knowles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)
207 Downloads (Pure)


According to evolutionary game theory, cooperation in public goods games is eliminated by free-riders, yet in nature, cooperation is ubiquitous. Artificial models resolve this contradiction via the mechanism of network reciprocity. However, existing research only addresses pre-existing networks and does not specifically consider their origins. Further, much work has focused on scale-free networks and so pre-supposes attachment mechanisms which may not exist in nature. We present a coevolutionary model of public goods games in networks, growing by random attachment, from small founding populations of simple agents. The model demonstrates the emergence of cooperation in moderately heterogeneous networks, regardless of original founders’ behaviour, and absent higher cognitive abilities such as recognition or memory. It may thus illustrate a more general mechanism for the evolution of cooperation, from early origins, in minimally cognitive organisms. It is the first example of a model explaining cooperation in public goods games on growing networks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvolutionary Algorithms and Complex Systems (EVOCOMPLEX 2016)
Subtitle of host publicationEvoWorkshops, Proceedings
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-31204-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-31203-3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2016
EventEVOCOMPLEX 2016 - Porto, Portugal
Duration: 30 Mar 20161 Apr 2016

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science


ConferenceEVOCOMPLEX 2016


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