How is the equilibrium of continuous strategy game different from that of discrete strategy game?

Weicai Zhong, Satoshi Kokubo, Jun Tanimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Cooperation in the prisoner's dilemma (PD) played on various networks has been explained by so-called network reciprocity. Most of the previous studies presumed that players can offer either cooperation (C) or defection (D). This discrete strategy seems unrealistic in the real world, since actual provisions might not be discrete, but rather continuous. This paper studies the differences between continuous and discrete strategies in two aspects under the condition that the payoff function of the former is a linear interpolation of the payoff matrix of the latter. The first part of this paper proves theoretically that for two-player games, continuous and discrete strategies have different equilibria and game dynamics in a well-mixed but finite population. The second part, conducting a series of numerical experiments, reveals that such differences become considerably large in the case of PD games on networks. Furthermore, it shows, using the Wilcoxon sign-rank test, that continuous and discrete strategy games are statistically significantly different in terms of equilibria. Intensive discussion by comparing these two kinds of games elucidates that describing a strategy as a real number blunts D strategy invasion to C clusters on a network in the early stage of evolution. Thus, network reciprocity is enhanced by the continuous strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-94
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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