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  Reputation helps solve the ''tragedy of the commons''

Milinski, M., Semmann, D., & Krambeck, H.-J. (2002). Reputation helps solve the ''tragedy of the commons''. Nature, 415(6870), 424-426.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-DD89-2 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-DD8A-F
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Milinski, Manfred1, Author              
Semmann, Dirk1, Author              
Krambeck, Hans-Jürgen2, Author              
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1Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society, ou_1445634              
2Department Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society, ou_976547              

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 Abstract: The problem of sustaining a public resource that everybody is free to overuse-the ''tragedy of the commons''(1-7)-emerges in many social dilemmas, such as our inability to sustain the global climate. Public goods experiments(4), which are used to study this type of problem, usually confirm that the collective benefit will not be produced. Because individuals and countries often participate in several social games simultaneously, the interaction of these games may provide a sophisticated way by which to maintain the public resource. Indirect reciprocity(8), ''give and you shall receive'', is built on reputation and can sustain a high level of cooperation, as shown by game theorists(9-11). Here we show, through alternating rounds of public goods and indirect reciprocity games, that the need to maintain reputation for indirect reciprocity maintains contributions to the public good at an unexpectedly high level. But if rounds of indirect reciprocation are not expected, then contributions to the public good drop quickly to zero. Alternating the games leads to higher profits for all players. As reputation may be a currency that is valid in many social games, our approach could be used to test social dilemmas for their solubility.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2002-01-24
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: eDoc: 3978
ISI: 000173433600048
Other: 2115/S 37827
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Title: Nature
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 415 (6870) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 424 - 426 Identifier: ISSN: 0028-0836