Evolutionary stability in the n-person iterated prisoner's dilemma

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The iterated prisoner's dilemma game has been used extensively in the study of the evolution of cooperative behaviours in social and biological systems. The concept of evolutionary stability provides a useful tool to analyse strategies for playing the game. Most results on evolutionary stability, however, are based on the 2-person iterated prisoner's dilemma game. This paper extends the results in the 2-person game and shows that no finite mixture of pure strategies in the n-person iterated prisoner's dilemma game can be evolutionarily stable, where n > 2. The paper also shows that evolutionary stability can be achieved if mistakes are allowed in the n-person game.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This research is partially supported by an ARC grant through its small grant scheme.


  • Evolutionarily stable strategies
  • Evolutionary analysis
  • Iterated prisoner's dilemma


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