“Shocks in Cooperative Social Networks: Changes in Tie-Costs and Collapse of Altruistic Agents.”

Co-authors: Mikhael Gaerlan, Keith Burghardt, and Zeev Maoz

Status: Data collection completed; drafting working paper

Abstract: We apply agent-based models and human experiments to study the evolution of cooperative social networks and their reactions to different types of shocks. We focus on two types of shocks: (a) changes in the costs of forming and maintaining ties, and (b) the collapse of an “altruistic” agent. Our models trace the formation and pre-shock evolution of simulated and human networks and their reorganization following shocks. The comparison of the simulated results to the experimental results shows a great deal of similarities, but also some interesting differences. In particular, we find that human subjects outperform simulated agents when tie-costs are low but behave similarly to simulated agents under high tie-costs. We provide an explanation for this seemingly puzzling phenomenon.

This paper is a result of work supported by the SPINS research group at UC Davis.

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