Network games and strategic play: social influence, cooperation and exerting control

Alain Govaert

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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When immediate self-interests conflict with the long-term collective performance of a large group of decision-makers, it is often necessary to somehow influence individual decisions to achieve sustainable outcomes that are beneficial for both individuals and the collective. This research uses game theory to develop novel and robust mechanisms that aid long-term performance in these complex situations. Based on economic and behavioral studies, a novel class of decision-making strategies is formulated that shows how rational selfish decisions can be moderated by social influence to achieve sustainable outcomes that preserve publicly available goods in the absence of external governing. Moreover, a theory is developed that characterizes the level of strategic influence or control that a player can unilaterally exert in the eventual outcome of a repeated social dilemma game with discounted payoffs. The effect of “farsightedness” or “patience” is characterized that provides novel insight into the minimum expected number of interactions that a strategic player requires to achieve a desired relative performance in a large group of individuals with arbitrary decision-making strategies. The success of these manipulative strategies is also characterized from an evolutionary perspective by studying the evolutionary stability of generosity and extortion in a finite population. Finally a general framework is developed through which the complex interactions among strategic decision making, strategic influence, and uncertainty about the valuation of the future are studied. It is shown how decisions-making strategies must be adjusted to the level of uncertainty in future events to successfully exert strategic influence in an uncertain future.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Cao, Ming, Supervisor
  • Scherpen, Jacqueline, Supervisor
  • Başar, T., Assessment committee, External person
  • Bauso, Dario, Assessment committee
  • Flache, Andreas, Assessment committee
Award date14-Feb-2020
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-2429-3
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-2428-6
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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