Naïve imitation and partial cooperation in a local public goods model

P.J.J. Herings*, R. Peeters, A.P. Tenev, F. Thuijsman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In a local interaction model agents play bilateral prisoners’ dilemmas with their immediate neighbors and have three possible strategies: altruistic, egoistic, and partial cooperation. After each period the agents adopt the strategy with the highest average payoff in their observed local neighborhood. There does not exist an absorbing state in which the partially cooperative strategy coexists with any of the other strategies. The partially cooperative strategy limits the diffusion of altruistic behavior in the population. Although clustering of altruists is beneficial for sustaining altruism, relatively big groups of altruists at the onset enable the spread of the partially cooperative strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-185
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior & Organization
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

JEL classifications

  • c63 - "Computational Techniques; Simulation Modeling"
  • c70 - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory: General
  • c72 - Noncooperative Games
  • c73 - "Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games; Repeated Games"


  • Altruism
  • Public goods
  • Imitation
  • Local interaction

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