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The puzzle of cooperation in a game of chicken: An experimental study

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  • Marie-Laure Cabon-Dhersin

    ()
    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne, ENS Cachan - École Normale Supérieure de Cachan - École normale supérieure (ENS) - Cachan)

  • Nathalie Etchart-Vincent

    ()
    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne, CIRED - Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Développement - Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement [CIRAD] : UMR56 - CNRS : UMR8568 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - AgroParisTech)

Abstract

The objective of this article is to investigate the impact of agent heterogeneity (as regards their attitude towards cooperation) and payoff structure on cooperative behaviour, using an experimental setting with incomplete information. A game of chicken is played considering two types of agents: 'unconditional cooperators', who always cooperate, and 'strategic cooperators', who do not cooperate unless it is in their interest to do so. Overall, our data show a much higher propensity to cooperate than predicted by theory. They also suggest that agent heterogeneity matters: the higher the proportion of 'strategic cooperators' in the population, the higher their probability to cooperate. Finally, our data confirm that higher rewards to cooperation (embedded in the payoff structure) tend to lower defection. Taken together, our results suggest that the subjects might be non-expected utility maximizers, dealing with both outcomes and probabilities in a non-linear manner.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number hal-00636089.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Publication status: Published, Theory and Decision, 2012, 72, 1, 65-87
Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:hal-00636089

Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00636089
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Keywords: Social dilemma ; Game of chicken ; Cooperation ; Experiment ; Heterogeneous population;

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  1. repec:hal:wpaper:hal-00741973 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Holden, Stein & Bezu, Sosina, 2014. "Are Wives less Selfish than their Husbands? Evidence from Hawk-Dove Game Field Experiments," CLTS Working Papers, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences 3/14, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

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