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Equilibrium Selection in the Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma: Axiomatic Approach and Experimental Evidence

  • Matthias Blonski
  • Peter Ockenfels
  • Giancarlo Spagnolo

We propose an axiomatic approach for equilibrium selection in the discounted, infinitely repeated symmetric Prisoner's Dilemma. Our axioms characterize a unique selection criterion that is also useful as a tool for applied comparative statics exercises as it results in a critical discount factor δ* strictly larger than δ, the standard criterion that has often been used in applications. In an experimental test we find a strong predictive power of our proposed criterion. For parameter changes where the standard and our criterion predict differently, changes in observed cooperation follow predictions based on δ* . (JEL C72, C73, C92, D81)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mic.3.3.164
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 164-92

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:3:y:2011:i:3:p:164-92
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.3.3.164
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-micro
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  1. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell & Chris Sanchirico, 1998. "Collusion and Price Rigidity," Working papers 98-23, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Feinberg, Robert M & Husted, Thomas A, 1993. "An Experimental Test of Discount-Rate Effects on Collusive Behaviour in Duopoly Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 153-60, June.
  3. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  4. Harsanyi John C., 1995. "A New Theory of Equilibrium Selection for Games with Incomplete Information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 318-332, August.
  5. Frank Heinemann & Rosemarie Nagel & Peter Ockenfels, 2004. "Measuring strategic uncertainty in coordination games," Economics Working Papers 804, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  6. John Duffy & Jack Ochs, 2006. "Cooperative Behavior and the Frequency of Social Interaction," Working Papers 274, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2008.
  7. Blonski, Matthias & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2003. "Prisoners' Other Dilemma," CEPR Discussion Papers 3856, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
  9. Matthias Blonski & Peter Ockenfels & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2011. "Equilibrium Selection in the Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma: Axiomatic Approach and Experimental Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 164-92, August.
  10. Aoyagi, Masaki & Fréchette, Guillaume, 2009. "Collusion as public monitoring becomes noisy: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1135-1165, May.
  11. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
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