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Social dilemmas, institutions, and the evolution of cooperation

Edited by: Ben Jann and Wojtek Przepiorka

The question of how cooperation and social order can evolve from a Hobbesian state of nature of a “war of all against all” has always been at the core of social scientific inquiry. Social dilemmas are the main analytical paradigm used by social scientists to explain competition, cooperation, and conflict in human groups. The formal analysis of social dilemmas allows for identifying the conditions under which cooperation evolves or unravels. This knowledge informs the design of institutions that promote cooperative behavior. Yet to gain practical relevance in policymaking and institutional design, predictions derived from the analysis of social dilemmas must be put to an empirical test. The collection of articles in this book gives an overview of state-of-the-art research on social dilemmas, institutions, and the evolution of cooperation. It covers theoretical contributions and offers a broad range of examples on how theoretical insights can be empirically verified and applied to cooperation problems in everyday life. By bringing together a group of distinguished scholars, the book fills an important gap in sociological scholarship and addresses some of the most interesting questions of human sociality.

  • State-of-the-art coverage of the topic
  • Written by experts in the field
  • Addresses all social and behavioral sciences
  • Suitable for academics as well as graduate students
  • Exemplifies the broad applicability of social dilemma research

Author Information

Ben Jann (University of Bern); Wojtek Przepiorka (Utrecht University)
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Audience: Academics and graduate students in sociology, economics, political science, and social psychology; policymakers.