A model-to-model analysis of the repeated prisoners' dilemma: Genetic algorithms vs. evolutionary dynamics

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Abstract

We study the properties of the well known Replicator Dynamics when applied to a finitely repeated version of the Prisoners' Dilemma game. We characterize the behavior of such dynamics under strongly simplifying assumptions (i.e. only 3 strategies are available) and show that the basin of attraction of defection shrinks as the number of repetitions increases. After discussing the difficulties involved in trying to relax the "strongly simplifying assumptions" bove, we approach the same model by means of simulations based on genetic algorithms. The resulting simulations describe a behavior of the system very close to the one predicted by the replicator dynamics without imposing any of the assumptions of the analytical model. Our main conclusion is that analytical and computational models are good complements for research in social sciences. Indeed, while on the one hand computational models are extremely useful to extend the scope of the analysis to complex scenarios hard to analyze mathematically, on the other hand formal models can be extremely useful to verify and to explain the outcomes of computational models. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-244
JournalLecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems
Volume631
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009

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