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Computational Approaches to Studying the Co-evolution of Networks and Behavior in Social Dilemmas by Rense Corten

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4

Co-evolution of conventions and networks: An experimental study*

4.1 Introduction

The previous two chapters introduced theoretical models for the co-evolution of behavior and social networks, focusing on behavior in two types of social dilemmas: coordination and cooperation problems. In both chapters we applied formal analysis as well as simulation methods in order to derive implications of the model assumptions. But, as with all theoretical models, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. This chapter and the following chapter will be dedicated to empirical tests of hypotheses. In doing so, we will look at coordination problems, to keep the discussion somewhat focused. The current chapter uses laboratory experiments to test hypotheses. In the next chapter we will take the theory to the field and apply it to a more natural setting.

In the empirical tests presented in these two chapters simulation methods will again play a central role. On the one hand the results from Chapter 2 are the starting point for formulation hypotheses, especially in the next chapter. On the other hand, in the current chapter, we will also develop new simulation models to generate precise hypotheses for the very specific experimental settings that we use in this chapter. In addition we will also look at some variations of the basic model presented in Chapter 2 and thus formulate also new hypotheses. In particular, we look at the effect of information availability on coordination. In the next section ...

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