Social Dilemmas, Revisited from a Heuristics Perspective
AbstractThe standard tool for analysing social dilemmas is game theory. They are reconstructed as prisoner dilemma games. This is helpful for understanding the incentive structure. Yet this analysis is based on the classic homo oeconomicus assumptions. In many real world dilemma situations, these assumptions are misleading. A case in point is the contribution of households to climate change. Decisions about using cars instead of public transport, or about extensive air conditioning, are typically not based on ad hoc calculation. Rather, individuals rely on situational heuristics for the purpose. This paper does two things: it offers a model of heuristics, in the interest of making behaviour that is guided by heuristics comparable to behaviour based on rational reasoning. Based on this model, the paper determines the implications for the definition of social dilemmas. In some contexts, the social dilemma vanishes. In other contexts, it must be understood, and hence solved, in substantially different ways.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in its series Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods with number 2004_4.
Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2004
Date of revision:
Heuristic; Social Dilemma; Public Good; Prisoner’s Dilemma;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
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- H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
- K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
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- Christoph Engel, 2007. "Institutions for Intuitive Man," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2007_12, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
- Engel, Christoph & Weber, Elke U., 2007.
"The impact of institutions on the decision how to decide,"
Journal of Institutional Economics,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(03), pages 323-349, December.
- Christoph Engel & Elke U. Weber, 2006. "The Impact of Institutions on the Decision How to Decide," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2006_19, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
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