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Promises and cooperation: Evidence from a TV game show

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  • Belot, Michèle
  • Bhaskar, V.
  • van de Ven, Jeroen

Abstract

We study the role of communication in a high stakes prisoner's dilemma, using data from a television game show. 40 Percent of the players voluntarily promise to cooperate, and these players are 50 percentage points more likely to cooperate than players who do not volunteer a promise. However, promises that arise in response to an explicit question by the presenter of the show are uninformative about behavior. These results augment and qualify recent experimental findings on communication--people do not want to volunteer lies but may have no compunction in lying if they feel compelled to do so.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:73:y:2010:i:3:p:396-405
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