A game-theoretic model of coalition formation among primates

Giorgos Stamatopoulos, Abhijit Sengupta, Erin Vogel, Charles Janson

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7 Scopus citations


This paper models the coalition formation process among primates as a sequential game. The population consists of individuals having distinct social ranks which is determined by the individual's resource holding potential. Each member of the population is interested in gaining access to a food resource, either individually or via a coalition. At any given stage of the game, a player can either propose a specific coalition or he can be proposed to in order to join one. Hence, the strategy of a player consists of a sequence of decisions regarding who to propose to for the formation of a coalition and which proposals to accept or reject. We derive the preferences of the players over the various coalition structures under the assumption that the probability of a coalition to obtain the resource is given by a logistic distribution as a function of relative strengths of the players. We show that, given the primates' strategic behavior, a variety of different coalition structures can emerge in equilibrium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-183
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Bioeconomics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Rank hierarchy
  • Resource holding potential
  • Subgroups


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