Phys.org – Wealth Inequality Can Promote Cooperation – 3 October 2013

Phys.org

Wealth inequality can encourage people to cooperate when they would otherwise have no incentive to do so, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

“In many groups and societies, the temptation to defect is high, which means that cheaters are much better off than cooperators,” says IIASA researcher Ulf Dieckmann, who worked on the study along with IIASA researcher Ádám Kun. For example, he says, if a train ticket is very expensive and the probability that cheaters are caught is low, people will be tempted to free-ride without purchasing a ticket. Likewise, if it costs a lot to install required technologies that protect the air and the corresponding environmental regulations are not strict, entrepreneurs will be tempted not to pay for such technologies.

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