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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.

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Proportion of established links with defectors, cooperators, and unknown partners according to players' current type and as a function of the cost .
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pone-0110788-g008: Proportion of established links with defectors, cooperators, and unknown partners according to players' current type and as a function of the cost .

Mentions: Finally, we now discuss how costly information shapes link acceptance. Figure 8 plots the proportion of each type of effectively created link by treatment and according to the participants' current strategies. When information is free, defectors create few links with cooperators because the latter do not give their consent. Most new links of defectors are to other defectors, and the rest are to unknown types. Cooperators, on the other hand, always establish links to cooperators and reject defectors except for some rare cases. When information about others' strategies entails a cost, defectors no longer scout and link only to unknown types, with few exceptions. Cooperators continue to pay for the information, since the expected gain is positive (see file S1, rational behavior analysis section). However, the expected gain from acquiring the information decreases with its cost. Hence, the proportion of new links to unknown types increases as the cost rises.


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

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

Proportion of established links with defectors, cooperators, and unknown partners according to players' current type and as a function of the cost .
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0110788-g008: Proportion of established links with defectors, cooperators, and unknown partners according to players' current type and as a function of the cost .
Mentions: Finally, we now discuss how costly information shapes link acceptance. Figure 8 plots the proportion of each type of effectively created link by treatment and according to the participants' current strategies. When information is free, defectors create few links with cooperators because the latter do not give their consent. Most new links of defectors are to other defectors, and the rest are to unknown types. Cooperators, on the other hand, always establish links to cooperators and reject defectors except for some rare cases. When information about others' strategies entails a cost, defectors no longer scout and link only to unknown types, with few exceptions. Cooperators continue to pay for the information, since the expected gain is positive (see file S1, rational behavior analysis section). However, the expected gain from acquiring the information decreases with its cost. Hence, the proportion of new links to unknown types increases as the cost rises.

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.

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