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Friend or Foe? A Natural Experiment of the Prisoner's Dilemma

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  • John A. List

Abstract

This study examines data drawn from the game show Friend or Foe?, which is similar to the classic prisoner%u2019s dilemma tale: partnerships are endogenously determined, players work together to earn money, after which, they play a one-shot prisoner%u2019s dilemma game over large stakes: varying from $200 to (potentially) more than $22,000. If one were to conduct such an experiment in the laboratory, the cost to gather the data would be well over $350,000. The data reveal several interesting insights; perhaps most provocatively, they suggest that even though the game is played in front of an audience of millions of viewers, there is some evidence consistent with a model of discrimination. The observed patterns of social discrimination are unanticipated, however. For example, there is evidence consistent with the notion that certain populations have a general %u201Cdistaste%u201D for older participants.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12097.

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Date of creation: Mar 2006
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Publication status: published as List, John A. "Friend Or Foe? A Natural Experiment Of The Prisoner's Dilemma," Review of Economics and Statistics, 2006, v88(3,Aug), 463-471.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12097

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  1. John A. List, 2005. "The Behavioralist Meets the Market: Measuring Social Preferences and Reputation Effects in Actual Transactions," NBER Working Papers 11616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. John List, 2004. "The nature and extent of discrimination in the marketplace: Evidence from the field," Natural Field Experiments 00299, The Field Experiments Website.
  8. Noussair, C.N. & Masclet, D. & Tucker, S. & Villeval, M..C, 2003. "Monetary and non-monetary punishment in the voluntary contributions mechanism," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-377951, Tilburg University.
  9. Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Testing Theories of Discrimination: Evidence from "Weakest Link"," NBER Working Papers 9449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. John A. List, 2001. "Do Explicit Warnings Eliminate the Hypothetical Bias in Elicitation Procedures? Evidence from Field Auctions for Sportscards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1498-1507, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Michele Belot, & V. Bhaskar & Jeroen van de Ven, 2007. "Is Beauty only Skin-deep? Disentangling the Beauty Premium on a Game Show," Economics Discussion Papers 624, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  2. Grätz, Silvia & Darai, Donja, 2011. "Determinants of Successful Cooperation in a Face-to-Face Social Dilemma," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48702, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  3. Fong, Christina M. & Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2007. "What Determines Giving to Hurricane Katrina Victims? Experimental Evidence on Income, Race, and Fairness," Working Paper Series rwp07-032, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Castillo, Marco & Petrie, Ragan, 2010. "Discrimination in the lab: Does information trump appearance?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 50-59, January.
  5. Werner Güth & Oliver Kirchkamp, 2010. "Will You Accept Without Knowing What? A Thuringian Newspaper Experiment of the Yes-No Game," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-006, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  6. Michele Belot, & V. Bhaskar & Jeroen van de Ven, 2006. "A Public Dilemma: Cooperation with Large Stakes and a Large Audience," Economics Discussion Papers 617, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  7. Fong, Christina M. & Luttmer, Erzo F.P., 2011. "Do fairness and race matter in generosity? Evidence from a nationally representative charity experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5-6), pages 372-394, June.
  8. Werner Güth & Oliver Kirchkamp, 2012. "Will you accept without knowing what? The Yes-No game in the newspaper and in the lab," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 656-666, December.
  9. David Butler, 2012. "A choice for ‘me’ or for ‘us’? Using we-reasoning to predict cooperation and coordination in games," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 73(1), pages 53-76, July.
  10. Klemens Keldenich & Marcus Klemm, 2014. "Double or nothing?! Small groups making decisions under risk in “Quiz Taxi”," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 77(2), pages 243-274, August.
  11. Donja Darai & Silvia Grätz, 2012. "Attraction and cooperative behavior," ECON - Working Papers 082, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Dec 2012.
  12. Anwar, Shamena, 2012. "Testing for discrimination: Evidence from the game show Street Smarts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 268-285.
  13. Egil Matsen & Bjarne Strom, 2006. "Joker: Choice in a simple game with large stakes," Natural Field Experiments 00236, The Field Experiments Website.
  14. Belot, Michèle & Bhaskar, V. & van de Ven, Jeroen, 2010. "Promises and cooperation: Evidence from a TV game show," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 396-405, March.
  15. Klemens Keldenich & Marcus Klemm, 2011. "Double or Nothing!? Small Groups Making Decisions Under Risk in “Quiz Taxi”," Ruhr Economic Papers 0278, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  16. Gurevich, Gregory & Kliger, Doron, 2013. "The Manipulation: Socio-economic decision making," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 171-184.
  17. David Masclet & Emmanuel Peterle & Sophie Larribeau, 2012. "The Role of Information in Deterring Discrimination: A New Experimental Evidence of Statistical Discrimination," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201238, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.

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