Cooperation is often viewed as an unlimited good, but then why do we need to put on our own oxygen mask before assisting others? In fact, each individual must budget their investment capacities between many possible opportunities, which must generally include sufficient individual investment to maintain group survival. In this talk I will describe our research (with Simon Powers, Karolina Sylwester & Benedikt Herrmann) in accounting for cultural variation by global region in cooperation as measured by the public goods game, with a special focus on accounting for anti-social punishment, that is, the costly punishment of those who contribute to the punisher's own good. I will also describe recent work (with Nolan McCarty) extending these models to account for political polarization and why it correlates with income inequality. Finally, I will briefly describe some implications for this work on the question of how AI should be incorporated into our society.

Dr Bryson is interested in talking with anyone working on wealth inequality and political polarisation, or even just cooperation / public goods investment after the seminar.


Research Programmes