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The N-Player Trust Game and its Replicator Dynamics

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Trust is a fundamental concept that underpins the coherence and resilience of social systems and shapes human behavior. Despite the importance of trust as a social and psychological concept, the concept has not gained much attention from evolutionary game theorists. In this letter, an N-player trust-based social dilemma game is introduced. While the theory shows that a society with no untrustworthy individuals would yield maximum wealth to both the society as a whole and the individuals in the long run, evolutionary dynamics show this ideal situation is reached only in a special case when the initial population contains no untrustworthy individuals. When the initial population consists of even the slightest number of untrustworthy individuals, the society converges to zero trusters, with many untrustworthy individuals. The promotion of trust is an uneasy task, despite the fact that a combination of trusters and trustworthy trustees is the most rational and optimal social state. This letter presents the game and results of replicator dynamics in a hope that researchers in evolutionary games see opportunities in filling this critical gap in the literature.




Abbass, H., Greenwood, G., & Petraki, E. (2016). The N-Player Trust Game and its Replicator Dynamics. IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, 20(3), 470–474.

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