Diversity-Induced Resonance in the Response to Social Norms

ETH RC Working Paper No. 12-017

24 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2013

See all articles by Claudio J. Tessone

Claudio J. Tessone

ETH Zürich

Anxo Sánchez

Departamento de Matemáticas, Universidad Carlos III, Leganés (Madrid)

Frank Schweitzer

ETH Zürich

Date Written: October 11, 2012


In this paper we focus on diversity-induced resonance, which was recently found in bistable, excitable and other physical systems. We study the appearance of this phenomenon in a purely economic model of cooperating and defecting agents. Agent's contribution to a public good is seen as a social norm. So defecting agents face a social pressure, which decreases if free-riding becomes widespread. In this model, diversity among agents naturally appears because of the different sensitivity towards the social norm. We study the evolution of cooperation as a response to the social norm (i) for the replicator dynamics, and (ii) for the logit dynamics by means of numerical simulations. Diversity-induced resonance is observed as a maximum in the response of agents to changes in the social norm as a function of the degree of heterogeneity in the population. We provide an analytical, mean-field approach for the logit dynamics and find very good agreement with the simulations. From a socio-economic perspective, our results show that, counter-intuitively, diversity in the individual sensitivity to social norms may result in a society that better follows such norms as a whole, even if part of the population is less prone to follow them.

Keywords: Common-goods games, stochastic processes, social norms

Suggested Citation

Tessone, Claudio J. and Sánchez, Angel and Schweitzer, Frank, Diversity-Induced Resonance in the Response to Social Norms (October 11, 2012). ETH RC Working Paper No. 12-017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2198900 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2198900

Claudio J. Tessone (Contact Author)

ETH Zürich ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
8092 Zurich, CH-1015

HOME PAGE: http://www.sg.ethz.ch/people/tessonec

Angel Sánchez

Departamento de Matemáticas, Universidad Carlos III, Leganés (Madrid) ( email )

Grupo Interdisciplinar de Sistemas Complejos
Departamento de Matemáticas,Universidad Carlos III
Madrid, Madrid 28933

Frank Schweitzer

ETH Zürich ( email )

Weinbergstrasse 56/58
WEV Room G 211
Zurich, CH-8032
+41 44 632 83 50 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sg.ethz.ch

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