Does strong heterogeneity promote cooperation by group interactions?

Matjaz Perc

Previous research has highlighted the importance of strong heterogeneity for the successful evolution of cooperation in games governed by pairwise interactions. Here we determine to what extent this is true for games governed by group interactions. We therefore study the evolution of cooperation in the public goods game on the square lattice, the triangular lattice and the random regular graph, whereby the payoffs are distributed either uniformly or exponentially amongst the players by assigning to them individual scaling factors that determine the share of the public good they will receive. We find that uniformly distributed public goods are more successful in maintaining high levels of cooperation than exponentially distributed public goods. This is not in agreement with previous results on games governed by pairwise interactions, indicating that group interactions may be less susceptible to the promotion of cooperation by means of strong heterogeneity as originally assumed, and that the role of strongly heterogeneous states should be reexamined for other types of games.

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