Building 53 Room 4025, Highfield Campus, 4-5pm. Refreshments served after the talk.
“The welfare of our planet stands as a perfect example of what scientists commonly refer to as public goods — a global good from which everyone profits, whether or not they contribute to maintain it. Indeed, reducing the effects of global warming has been described as one of the greatest public goods problems (or “games”) we humans face, and the one we cannot afford to lose. Unfortunately, individuals, regions or nations may opt to be “free riders”, hoping to benefit from the efforts of others while choosing not to make any effort themselves. Cooperation problems faced by humans often share this setting, in which the immediate advantage of free riding drives the population into the “tragedy of the commons”, the ultimate limit of widespread defection. Moreover, nations and their leaders seek a collective goal that is shadowed by the uncertainty of its achievement.
In this seminar, I will discuss an evolutionary dynamics approach to a broad class of cooperation problems in which attempting to minimize future losses turns the risk of failure into a central issue in individual decisions. Our results suggest that global coordination for a common good should be attempted by segmenting tasks in many small to medium sized groups in which perception of risk is high and achievement of goals involves stringent requirements (whose meaning I will make precise). Moreover, whenever the perception of risk is low — as it is presently the case — we find that a polycentric approach involving multiple institutions is more effective than that associated with a single, global one, indicating that a bottom-up approach, setup at a local scale, provides a better ground on which to attempt a solution for such a complex and global dilemma. Finally, we show that, if one takes into consideration that individuals are interwoven in complex political networks, the chances for global coordination in an overall cooperating state are further enhanced.”