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Cascading failures and the emergence of cooperation



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CHAOS 21 033112 2011 Cascading failures and the emergence of cooperation in evolutionary game based models of social and economical networks Wen Xu Wang 1 Ying Cheng Lai 1 2 and Dieter Armbruster3 1 School of Electrical Computer and Energy Engineering Arizona State University Tempe Arizona 85287 USA 2 Department of Physics Arizona State University Tempe Arizona 85287 USA 3 School of Mathematical and Statistical science Arizona State University Tempe Arizona 85287 USA Received 19 November 2010 accepted 13 July 2011 published online 17 August 2011 We study catastrophic behaviors in large networked systems in the paradigm of evolutionary games by incorporating a realistic death or bankruptcy mechanism We find that a cascading bankruptcy process can arise when defection strategies exist and individuals are vulnerable to deficit Strikingly we observe that after the catastrophic cascading process terminates cooperators are the sole survivors regardless of the game types and of the connection patterns among individuals as determined by the topology of the underlying network It is necessary that individuals cooperate with each other to survive the catastrophic failures Cooperation thus becomes the optimal strategy and absolutely outperforms defection in the game evolution with respect to the death mechanism Our results can be useful for understanding large scale catastrophe in real world systems and in particular they may yield insights into significant social and economical phenomena such as large scale failures of financial institutions and corporations C 2011 American Institute of Physics doi 10 1063 1 3621719 during an economic recession V Evolutionary games are a powerful paradigm to study a variety of self organized behaviors in natural social and economical systems So far the tolerance of individuals to elimination or death in the paradigm has received relatively little attention A relevant example is the bankruptcy of agents in an economical system For any agent a



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