A social dilemma is formally defined as an incentive structure in which a deficient outcome is collectively achieved when each individual (in a group of two or more people) makes choices in accordance with a dominating strategy. A strategy is dominating if the personal consequences of behaving according to it are superior to the consequences of behaving according to all other strategies, regardless of the behavior of others in the group. The outcome is considered to be “deficient” when that outcome is preferred less than other outcomes by all members of the group. The commons dilemma, a social trap, the public goods problem, and the free-riding problem are all used to refer to a social dilemma. Real-world examples of social dilemmas range from an arms ...

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