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

  • Francesco Guala

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    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

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11299-010-0077-y
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    Article provided by Fondazione Rosselli in its journal Mind & Society.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (December)
    Pages: 159-169

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:minsoc:v:9:y:2010:i:2:p:159-169
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    1. 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.
    2. Simon Gächter & Christian Thöni, 2004. "Social learning and voluntary cooperation among like-minded people," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2004 2004-12, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    3. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521853408 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Talbot Page & Louis Putterman & Bulent Unel, 2002. "Voluntary Association in Public Goods Experiments: Reciprocity, Mimicry and Efficiency," Working Papers 2002-19, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    5. 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 1068-95, December.
    6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521618618 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. 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, June.
    8. Roberto Burlando & Francesco Guala, 2005. "Heterogeneous Agents in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 35-54, April.
    9. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine & Eric Maskin, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2058, David K. Levine.
    10. Binmore, Ken & Shaked, Avner, 2010. "Experimental economics: Where next?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 87-100, January.
    11. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
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