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Friend or Foe? Cooperation and Learning in High-Stakes Games

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Author Info

  • Felix Oberholzer-Gee

    (Harvard University)

  • Joel Waldfogel

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Matthew W. White

    (University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

Why do people frequently cooperate in defiance of their immediate incentives? One explanation is that individuals are conditionally cooperative. As an explanation of behavior in one-shot settings, such preferences require individuals to be able to discern their opponents' preferences. Using data from a television game show, we provide evidence about how individuals implement conditionally cooperative preferences. We show that contestants forgo large sums of money to be cooperative; they cooperate at heightened levels when their opponents are predictably cooperative; and they fare worse when their observable characteristics predict less cooperation because opponents avoid cooperating with them. © 2010 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 179-187

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:92:y:2010:i:1:p:179-187

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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Web: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journal-home.tcl?issn=00346535

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Cited by:
  1. Gurevich, Gregory & Kliger, Doron, 2013. "The Manipulation: Socio-economic decision making," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 171-184.
  2. Donja Darai & Silvia Grätz, 2010. "Determinants of Successful Cooperation in a Face-to-Face Social Dilemma," SOI - Working Papers 1006, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Nov 2010.

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