Compliance with Social Norms as an Evolutionary Stable Equilibrium

  • Francisco CaboEmail author
  • Ana García-González
  • Mercedes Molpeceres-Abella
Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR, volume 280)


This paper analyzes the compliance with social norms optimally established by a benevolent central planner. Since compliance is costly, agents have an incentive to free-ride on others, in a public good game. We distinguish two types of agents: standard pro-self agents (Sanchos) whose payoffs are defined by a prisoner’s dilemma game dominated by the non-compliance strategy, and pro-social Quixotes, who still have an incentive to free-ride, although prefer compliance over mutual defection (as in a snowdrift game). Compliance is analyzed in a two-population evolutionary game considering an imitative revision protocol. Individuals from one population play against and imitate agents within their own but also the other population. Inter-population interaction and imitation allow us to investigate under which circumstances some Sanchos might imitate compliant Quixotes, so escaping the non-compliance equilibrium characteristic of an isolated population of Sanchos. Correspondingly, we analyze the conditions under which the interaction with the population of selfish Sanchos increases or decreases the compliance rate among altruistic Quixotes.


Two-population evolutionary game Heterogeneous preferences Prisoner’s dilemma game Snowdrift game Social norms 



This study was funded by the Spanish Government (research projects ECO2014-52343-P and ECO2017-82227-P) and by the Regional Government of Castilla y León (research projects VA024P17 and VA105G18), co-financed by FEDER funds.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francisco Cabo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ana García-González
    • 1
  • Mercedes Molpeceres-Abella
    • 2
  1. 1.IMUVaUniversidad de ValladolidValladolidSpain
  2. 2.Universidad de ValladolidValladolidSpain

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