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The Sequential Prisoner's Dilemma: Evidence on Reciprocation

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  • Clark, Kenneth
  • Sefton, Martin

Abstract

We investigate how fairness concerns influence individual behaviour in social dilemmas. Using a Sequential Prisoner's Dilemma experiment we analyse the extent to which co-operation is conditional on first-mover co-operation, repetition, economic incentives, subject pool (United Kingdom vs. United States) and gender. We find the most important variable influencing co-operation is the first-mover's choice, supporting the argument that co-operative behaviour in social dilemmas reflects reciprocation rather than unconditional altruism. However, we also find that cooperation decreases with repetition, and reciprocation falls as its material cost rises.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 111 (2001)
Issue (Month): 468 (January)
Pages: 51-68

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:111:y:2001:i:468:p:51-68

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