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García, J. and van Veelen, M. (2016). In and out of equilibrium i: Evolution of strategies in repeated games with discounting. Journal of Economic Theory, 161:161-189.

  • Journal
    Journal of Economic Theory

In the repeated prisoner's dilemma there is no strategy that is evolutionarily stable, and a profusion of neutrally stable ones. But how stable is neutrally stable? We show that in repeated games with large enough continuation probabilities, where the stage game is characterized by a conflict between individual and collective interests, there is always a neutral mutant that can drift into a population that is playing an equilibrium, and create a selective advantage for a second mutant. The existence of stepping stone paths out of any equilibrium determines the dynamics in finite populations playing the repeated prisoner's dilemma.