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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.

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  • 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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Donja Darai & Silvia Gr�tz, 2010. "Determinants of Successful Cooperation in a Face-to-Face Social Dilemma," SOI - Working Papers 1006, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Nov 2010.
    2. López-Pérez, Raúl, 2012. "The power of words: A model of honesty and fairness," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 642-658.
    3. Donja Darai & Silvia Grätz, 2012. "Attraction and cooperative behavior," ECON - Working Papers 082, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Jun 2013.
    4. repec:eee:joepsy:v:62:y:2017:i:c:p:295-312 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jingnan (Cecilia) Chen & Daniel Houser, 2013. "Promises and Lies: An Experiment on Detecting Deception," Working Papers 1038, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, revised Feb 2013.
    6. Koessler, Ann-Kathrin & Page, Lionel & Dulleck, Uwe, 2015. "Promoting pro-social behavior with public statements of good intent," MPRA Paper 80072, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 24 May 2017.
    7. Geerling, Wayne & Magee, Gary B. & Brooks, Robert, 2015. "Cooperation, defection and resistance in Nazi Germany," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 125-139.
    8. Gurevich, Gregory & Kliger, Doron, 2013. "The Manipulation: Socio-economic decision making," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 171-184.
    9. Ismayilov, H., 2015. "Essays on promises, trust and disclosure," Other publications TiSEM 8e778ec1-5a46-4d3a-b9d2-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    10. Ann-Kathrin Koessler & Benno Torgler & Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2016. "Commitment to Pay Taxes: A Field Experiment on the Importance of Promise," CESifo Working Paper Series 6186, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Martijn J. van den Assem & Dennie van Dolder & Richard H. Thaler, 2012. "Split or Steal? Cooperative Behavior When the Stakes Are Large," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(1), pages 2-20, January.
    12. Huseyn Ismayilov & Jan Potters, 2016. "Why do promises affect trustworthiness, or do they?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(2), pages 382-393, June.
    13. Michèle Belot & V. Bhaskar & Jeroen van de Ven, 2012. "Beauty and the Sources of Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(3), pages 851-872.

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