Preferences, cooperation, and Institutions
AbstractWe examine the link between social institutions and individuals' propensity to cooperate in a simple game theoretic framework. To begin, we transform the usual prisoner's dilemma game over material payoffs into one with utility payoffs by including non-material preferences. By introducing a continuum of types, three distinct behaviors (not otherwise imposed) emerge: 1) pure defection, (2) pure cooperation, and (3) behavior contingent on expected partner behavior. All three behaviors emerge in equilibrium and in a static analysis. As such it represents a synthesis of previous, disparate efforts. Exogenous social policy can affect cooperation rates by changing the size of the three groups exhibiting these behaviors if preferences are endogenous. Repeated play results in "switching" behavior, where formerly cooperative players now defect (i.e., become cynical), and former defectors cooperate (reform). This behavior suggests further roles for institutions. Finally, continuing the effort to analyze community, we add the possibility of interaction with a new "low cost" player who, it is known, does not make social investments.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 1997-06.
Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Oct 1997
Date of revision:
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Non-material; endogenous preferences; cooperation; institutions.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
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