Selfish Punishment: Altruism Can be Maintained by Competition Among Cheaters
Journal of Theoretical Biology
Altruism, Selfish, Punishment, Cooperation, Public Good
Altruistic punishment refers to a class of behaviors that deters cheating at a cost to the punisher, making it a form of second-order altruism. Usually, it is assumed that the punishers are themselves "solid citizens" who refrain from cheating. We show in a simulation model that altruism and punishment paradoxically become negatively correlated, leading to a form of selfish punishment. Examples of selfish punishment can be found in organisms as diverse as wasps, birds, and humans.
Eldakar, Omar Tonsi; Dene Leo Farrell; and David Sloan Wilson. 2007. "Selfish Punishment: Altruism Can be Maintained by Competition Among Cheaters." Journal of Theoretical Biology 249, (2): 198-205. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2007.07.024.