Johnstone, R.A.; Thompson, F.J.; Cant, M.A

Theoretical model of exploitative leadership in collective violence in animal societies

This is a theoretical model of leadership in warfare by exploitative individuals who reap the benefits of conflict while avoiding the costs. In this model we extend the classic hawk-dove model to consider pairwise interactions between groups in which a randomly chosen leader decides whether the group will collectively adopt aggressive or peaceful tactics. We allow for unequal sharing of fitness payoffs among group members such that the leader can obtain either a larger share of the benefits, or pay a reduced share of costs, from fighting compared to their followers. Our model shows that leadership of this kind can explain the evolution of severe collective violence in certain animal societies.
Publication date: 2022-08-31