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Know thy neighbor: costly information can hurt cooperation in dynamic networks.

Antonioni A, Cacault MP, Lalive R, Tomassini M - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Cooperation is less likely, however, if people have to pay about half of what they gain from cooperating with a cooperator.Cooperation declines even further if people have to pay a cost that is almost equivalent to the gain from cooperating with a cooperator.Thus, costly information on potential neighbors' actions can undermine the incentive to cooperate in fluid networks.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

ABSTRACT
People need to rely on cooperation with other individuals in many aspects of everyday life, such as teamwork and economic exchange in anonymous markets. We study whether and how the ability to make or break links in social networks fosters cooperate, paying particular attention to whether information on an individual's actions is freely available to potential partners. Studying the role of information is relevant as information on other people's actions is often not available for free: a recruiting firm may need to call a job candidate's references, a bank may need to find out about the credit history of a new client, etc. We find that people cooperate almost fully when information on their actions is freely available to their potential partners. Cooperation is less likely, however, if people have to pay about half of what they gain from cooperating with a cooperator. Cooperation declines even further if people have to pay a cost that is almost equivalent to the gain from cooperating with a cooperator. Thus, costly information on potential neighbors' actions can undermine the incentive to cooperate in fluid networks.

Show MeSH
Fraction of cooperators by period and treatment (cost of information).Cooperation starts at just below 50% in all treatments. Cooperation rapidly increases over periods in the treatment with free information on potential partners' actions. Cooperation builds up less rapidly in the low-cost (Cost = 4) treatment and remains almost at the initial level for the high cost (Cost = 8) treatment. The grey area plots the 95% CI for the Cost = 0 treatment.
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pone-0110788-g002: Fraction of cooperators by period and treatment (cost of information).Cooperation starts at just below 50% in all treatments. Cooperation rapidly increases over periods in the treatment with free information on potential partners' actions. Cooperation builds up less rapidly in the low-cost (Cost = 4) treatment and remains almost at the initial level for the high cost (Cost = 8) treatment. The grey area plots the 95% CI for the Cost = 0 treatment.

Mentions: We now turn to the evolution of cooperation over time. Fig. 2 reports the fraction of cooperators per period for the three different cost treatments. The shaded area is the 95% confidence interval for the baseline treatment ( = 0). Cooperation increases steadily when information is free. About 80% of all participants decide to cooperate in the final period. Cooperation also increases in the low-cost treatment with , but merely 55% of all subjects cooperate in the final round. Cooperation ceases to build up over time in the high-cost treatment with . Merely 35% of all individuals cooperate in the final period. Thus, the cost of obtaining information on a future partner's action dramatically reduces the capacity of fluid networks to sustain cooperation.


Know thy neighbor: costly information can hurt cooperation in dynamic networks.

Antonioni A, Cacault MP, Lalive R, Tomassini M - PLoS ONE (2014)

Fraction of cooperators by period and treatment (cost of information).Cooperation starts at just below 50% in all treatments. Cooperation rapidly increases over periods in the treatment with free information on potential partners' actions. Cooperation builds up less rapidly in the low-cost (Cost = 4) treatment and remains almost at the initial level for the high cost (Cost = 8) treatment. The grey area plots the 95% CI for the Cost = 0 treatment.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4214703&req=5

pone-0110788-g002: Fraction of cooperators by period and treatment (cost of information).Cooperation starts at just below 50% in all treatments. Cooperation rapidly increases over periods in the treatment with free information on potential partners' actions. Cooperation builds up less rapidly in the low-cost (Cost = 4) treatment and remains almost at the initial level for the high cost (Cost = 8) treatment. The grey area plots the 95% CI for the Cost = 0 treatment.
Mentions: We now turn to the evolution of cooperation over time. Fig. 2 reports the fraction of cooperators per period for the three different cost treatments. The shaded area is the 95% confidence interval for the baseline treatment ( = 0). Cooperation increases steadily when information is free. About 80% of all participants decide to cooperate in the final period. Cooperation also increases in the low-cost treatment with , but merely 55% of all subjects cooperate in the final round. Cooperation ceases to build up over time in the high-cost treatment with . Merely 35% of all individuals cooperate in the final period. Thus, the cost of obtaining information on a future partner's action dramatically reduces the capacity of fluid networks to sustain cooperation.

Bottom Line: Cooperation is less likely, however, if people have to pay about half of what they gain from cooperating with a cooperator.Cooperation declines even further if people have to pay a cost that is almost equivalent to the gain from cooperating with a cooperator.Thus, costly information on potential neighbors' actions can undermine the incentive to cooperate in fluid networks.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

ABSTRACT
People need to rely on cooperation with other individuals in many aspects of everyday life, such as teamwork and economic exchange in anonymous markets. We study whether and how the ability to make or break links in social networks fosters cooperate, paying particular attention to whether information on an individual's actions is freely available to potential partners. Studying the role of information is relevant as information on other people's actions is often not available for free: a recruiting firm may need to call a job candidate's references, a bank may need to find out about the credit history of a new client, etc. We find that people cooperate almost fully when information on their actions is freely available to their potential partners. Cooperation is less likely, however, if people have to pay about half of what they gain from cooperating with a cooperator. Cooperation declines even further if people have to pay a cost that is almost equivalent to the gain from cooperating with a cooperator. Thus, costly information on potential neighbors' actions can undermine the incentive to cooperate in fluid networks.

Show MeSH