Evolution of common-pool resources and social welfare in structured populations
The Common-pool resource (CPR) game is a social dilemma where agents have to decide how to consume a shared CPR. Either they each take their cut, completely destroying the CPR, or they restrain themselves, gaining less immediate profit but sustaining the resource and future profit. When no consumption takes place the CPR simply grows to its carrying capacity. As such, this dilemma provides a framework to study the evolution of social consumption strategies and the sustainability of resources, whose size adjusts dynamically through consumption and their own implicit population dynamics. The present study provides for the first time a detailed analysis of the evolutionary dynamics of consumption strategies in finite populations, focusing on the interplay between the resource levels and preferred consumption strategies. We show analytically which restrained consumers survive in relation to the growth rate of the resources and how this affects the resources’ carrying capacity. Second, we show that population structures affect the sustainability of the resources and social welfare in the population. Current results provide an initial insight into the complexity of the CPR game, showing potential for a variety of different studies in the context of social welfare and resource sustainability.