Computational Economics

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 1–14 | Cite as

Partially and Wholly Overlapping Networks: The Evolutionary Dynamics of Social Dilemmas on Social Networks

  • Yanlong Zhang


It has been widely accepted that the evolution of cooperation in social dilemmas is likely to have simultaneous effects on different levels of networks—that is, overlapping networks. In this scenario, we apply the evolutionary dynamics of social dilemmas (the Prisoner’s dilemma and the Stag Hunt) to two levels of networks, playing network interaction game (scale-free networks) and imitating the strategies of dynamic learning networks by concentrating on the levels of dynamically overlapping levels in both networks. It was found that the higher level of dynamically overlap can promote the emergence of cooperation in the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Stag Hunt. When networks overlap dynamically, it leads to cooperation in the Stag Hunt; when the networks do not overlap, cooperation will not occur in the Prisoner’s dilemma. Specifically, if two kinds of networks in the real world truly dynamically overlap at least partially, in some sense, the self-organizing phenomenon arising out of the overlapping effect could solve “coordination failure” in the market without external enforcement mechanisms, which contradicts conventional intervention polices.


Overlapping networks Social dilemmas Evolutioanry dyanmics Self-organizing phenomenon 



I am particularly grateful to Prof. Wolfram Elsner, leading scholar in evolutionary political economics, for his rigorous cultivation of critical thought and active support. I am grateful to the China Scholarship Council for a scholarship, and to Ulrich Witt at the Max Planck Institute of Economics and Alondra Nelson at Columbia University for their knowledge and input during the talk. Finally, I am grateful to the three anonymous referees for their helpful comments.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Business StudiesUniversity of BremenBremenGermany

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