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The Evolution of Cooperation in Structured Populations

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How does population dynamics influence outcomes in situations with public goodcharacteristics? The present paper answers this question by analysing the evolution of costlycooperation in a multi-group population. Building on insights first developed in modernbiology the idea of viscous population equilibria is introduced (a population is said to beviscous when a (sub)population of players is spatially or genetically clustered). A simplemodel then analyses how the combined effect of viscosity within multiple subgroups anddifferent levels of between-group segregation influences the evolution of cooperation. Theresults suggest that a key issue in the evolution of cooperation is the shifting balance betweenthe need to protect cooperators and propagation of the tendency to cooperate.

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Thorbjørn Knudsen

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