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cooperation resource consumer systemExploring the evolution of cooperation with a simple resource-consumer system


With the Institutional & Behavioural Economics group, we developed a simple adaptive model with harvest behaviour as the main continuous trait describing the coupled dynamics of a renewable common pool resource and a group of human consumers. The balance between instantaneous harvest and potential future harvest determines the degree of cooperation among consumers. Consistent with Hardin's tragedy of the commons and numerous real examples, maximising the instantaneous harvest of the common pool resource leads to declining long-term yields and finally to a collapse of the resource-consumer system. By contrast, incorporating potential future returns into the consumer fitness function significantly enhance the degree of cooperation.

Related literature

G. Brandt & A. Merico (2013) Tipping points and user-resource system collapse in a simple model of evolutionary dynamics, Ecological Complexity, 13, 46-52.

G. Brandt, A. Merico, B. Vollan, & A. Schlüter (2012) Human adaptive behavior in common pool resource systems, PLoS ONE, 7(12), e52763.