Impact of social punishment on cooperative behavior in complex networks

Zhen Wang, Cheng Yi Xia, Sandro Meloni, Changsong ZHOU*, Yamir Moreno

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

183 Citations (Scopus)


Social punishment is a mechanism by which cooperative individuals spend part of their resources to penalize defectors. In this paper, we study the evolution of cooperation in 2-person evolutionary games on networks when a mechanism for social punishment is introduced. Specifically, we introduce a new kind of role, punisher, which is aimed at reducing the earnings of defectors by applying to them a social fee. Results from numerical simulations show that different equilibria allowing the three strategies to coexist are possible as well as that social punishment further enhance the robustness of cooperation. Our results are confirmed for different network topologies and two evolutionary games. In addition, we analyze the microscopic mechanisms that give rise to the observed macroscopic behaviors in both homogeneous and heterogeneous networks. Our conclusions might provide additional insights for understanding the roots of cooperation in social systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3055
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • General


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