Impact of the baseline payoff on evolutionary outcomes

Md Rajib Arefin, Jun Tanimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Do individuals enjoying a higher baseline payoff behave similarly in competitive scenarios compared to their counterparts? The classical replicator equation does not answer such a question since it is invariant to the background or baseline payoff of individuals. In reality, however, if one's baseline payoff is higher than the possible payoffs of an interaction (or game), the individual may respond generously or indifferently if s(he) is satisfied with the prevailing benchmark payoff. This work intends to explore such a phenomenon within the realm of pairwise interactions—taking the prisoner's dilemma as a metaphor—in well-mixed finite and infinite populations. In this framework, a player uses the payoff (comprising baseline and game payoffs) -expectation difference to estimate a degree of eagerness and, with that degree of eagerness, revises his or her strategy with a certain probability. We adopt two approaches to explore such a context, naming them as the Fermi and imitation processes, in which the former uses a pairwise Femi function and the latter considers the relative fitness to estimate probabilities for strategy revision. In a finite population, we examine the effect of intensities to payoff-expectation and strategic payoff differences (denoted by and , respectively) as well as the level of contentment () on the fixation probability and fixation time (for a single defector). We observe that the fixation probability surges with the increase of intensity parameters. Nevertheless, the maximum fixation probability may require a substantially larger time to fixate, especially when the expectation is lower than the baseline payoff. This means that cooperators can persist for a longer period of time. A higher expectation or greed, however, considerably reduces the fixation time. Interestingly, our numerical simulation reveals that both approaches are equivalent under weak in the Fermi process. We further derive mean-field equations for both approaches in the context of an infinite population, where we observe two possible evolutionary consequences: either full-scale defection or the persistence of the initial frequency of cooperators. The latter scenario indicates players’ uninterested or neutral behavior in relation to the interaction due to their satisfaction on the baseline payoff.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA42
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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