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The stability of cooperation involving variable investment.

Authors
  • Sherratt, Thomas N
  • Roberts, Gilbert
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of theoretical biology
Publication Date
Mar 07, 2002
Volume
215
Issue
1
Pages
47–56
Identifiers
PMID: 12051983
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

In this paper, we attempt to reconcile the results of several studies which have investigated the evolution of cooperation between non-relatives in systems where investment in partners can vary. In contrast to previous proposals, we show for the first time that variable-investment cooperation can be readily maintained in inter-species mutualistic relationships even in the absence of spatial structure, but that the stability of this interaction is dependent on the particular investment-response rule that is employed. By allowing the evolution of investment-response parameters in both inter- and intra-specific versions of the continuous variable-investment Prisoners' Dilemma we show that, in the absence of further factors, the raise-the stakes (RTS) strategy is likely to evolve into a simpler, variable investment form of Give-as-Good-as-you-Get that initially offers a high fixed amount and subsequently matches its partner's investment. Nevertheless, we demonstrate that genuine RTS-like strategies will still be selected if two intuitively reasonable conditions hold: if individuals are limited in terms of the total they can invest in cooperative actions over their lifetimes, and if there are always some individuals in a population that cannot cooperate.

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