Dynamic Games and Applications

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 407–431 | Cite as

The Iterated Hawk–Dove Game Revisited: The Effect of Ownership Uncertainty on Bourgeois as a Pure Convention

  • Mike Mesterton-GibbonsEmail author
  • Tugba Karabiyik
  • Tom N. Sherratt


Classical evolutionary game theory shows that respect for ownership (“Bourgeois” behavior) can arise as an arbitrary convention to avoid costly disputes, but the same theory also predicts that a paradoxical disrespect for ownership (“anti-Bourgeois” behavior) can evolve under the same conditions. Given the rarity of the latter strategy in the natural world, it is clear that the classical model is lacking in some important biological details. For instance, the classical model assumes that roles of owner and intruder can be recognized unambiguously. However, in the natural world there is often confusion over ownership, mediated for example by the temporary absence of the owner. We show that if intruders sometimes believe themselves to be owners, then the resulting confusion over ownership can broaden the conditions under which Bourgeois behavior is evolutionarily stable in the one-shot Hawk–Dove game. Likewise, introducing mistakes over ownership into a more realistic game with repeated interactions facilitates the evolution of Bourgeois behavior where previously such a result could arise only if owners are intrinsically more likely to win fights than intruders. Collectively, therefore, we find that mistakes over ownership facilitate the evolution of Bourgeois behavior. Nevertheless, relaxing the assumption that ownership is unambiguously recognized does not appear to completely explain the extreme rarity of anti-Bourgeois behavior in nature.


Resource-holding potential Animal conflict Evolution of private property 



We are very grateful to Hanna Kokko and an anonymous reviewer for constructive comments on the original manuscript. This work was partially supported by a grant from the Simons Foundation (#274041 to Mike Mesterton-Gibbons).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mike Mesterton-Gibbons
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tugba Karabiyik
    • 1
  • Tom N. Sherratt
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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