Promoting cooperation through peer pressure

Iyad Rahwan

Cooperation in a large society of self-interested individuals is notoriously difficult to achieve when the externality of one individual's action is spread thin and wide on the whole society (e.g., in the case of pollution). We introduce a new approach to achieving global cooperation by localizing externalities to one's peers in a social network, thus leveraging the power of peer-pressure to regulate behavior. Global cooperation becomes more like local cooperation.