This chapter explores the concept of emergence in relation to cooperation, and more specifically how social interactions can lead to the spontaneous emergence of norms, conventions, and other social institutions that help coordinate social behavior. People can coordinate their social behaviors if they have common knowledge both about how to do so and about the fact that everyone else also knows how to do so. Such common knowledge is often enshrined in norms about social behavior, for example, which side of the road to drive on. The chapter first provides a brief historical background on the importance of emergence in the social sciences before discussing instances in which emergent phenomena help people cooperate. It also considers how mathematics helps shape cooperation and the ways that power law curves, criticality, and assurance games contribute to the study of cooperation.
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