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Cooperation in and out of the lab: a comment on Binmore’s paper

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  • Francesco Guala

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Abstract

The disagreement between Binmore and the “behaviouralists” concerns mainly the kind of reciprocity mechanisms that sustain cooperation in and out of the experimental laboratory. Although Binmore’s scepticism concerning Strong Reciprocity is justified, his case for Weak Reciprocity and the long-run convergence to Nash equilibria is unsupported by laboratory evidence. Part of the reason is that laboratory evidence alone cannot solve the reciprocity controversy, and researchers should pay more attention to field data. As an example, I briefly illustrate a historical case suggesting that the institutions that foster cooperation in the real world rely on Weak Reciprocity mechanisms such as those that feature prominently in Binmore’s story. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2010

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Guala, 2010. "Cooperation in and out of the lab: a comment on Binmore’s paper," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 9(2), pages 159-169, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minsoc:v:9:y:2010:i:2:p:159-169 DOI: 10.1007/s11299-010-0077-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    2. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David I & Maskin, Eric, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 997-1039, September.
    3. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
    4. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-1095, December.
    5. Simon Gächter & Christian Thöni, 2005. "Social Learning and Voluntary Cooperation Among Like-Minded People," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 303-314, 04/05.
    6. Binmore, Ken & Shaked, Avner, 2010. "Experimental economics: Where next?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 87-100, January.
    7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521555838 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Ken Binmore, 1998. "Game Theory and the Social Contract - Vol. 2: Just Playing," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 2, number 0262024446, January.
    9. David Cooper & E. Dutcher, 2011. "The dynamics of responder behavior in ultimatum games: a meta-study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 519-546, November.
    10. Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
    11. Talbot Page & Louis Putterman & Bulent Unel, 2005. "Voluntary Association in Public Goods Experiments: Reciprocity, Mimicry and Efficiency," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 1032-1053, October.
    12. Guala,Francesco, 2005. "The Methodology of Experimental Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521618618, March.
    13. Roberto Burlando & Francesco Guala, 2005. "Heterogeneous Agents in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(1), pages 35-54, April.
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