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Cooperation and fairness: the flood-Dresher experiment revisited

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  • Tom De Herdt

Abstract

In this paper we set out to deepen our understanding of the importance of fairness in decision-making within the context of Prisoners' Dilemma games. A review of the “historic” Flood-Dresher experiment provides a useful empirical basis, as it allows us to look in considerable detail at how the experimental players made up their minds. We try out several game-theoretical readings of the experimental results, and find some value in Adam Smith's age-old concept of rules of conduct. We find that fairness considerations are much more than mere excuses for taking a free ride or pointers to focal points. They seem to play a considerable role both at a conscious and at a less-than-conscious level.

Suggested Citation

  • Tom De Herdt, 2003. "Cooperation and fairness: the flood-Dresher experiment revisited," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 61(2), pages 183-210.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:61:y:2003:i:2:p:183-210
    DOI: 10.1080/0034676032000098219
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bastiaensen, Johan & De Herdt, Tom & Vaessen, Jos, 2002. "Poverty, institutions and interventions: a framework for an institutional analysis of poverty and local anti-poverty interventions," IOB Discussion Papers 2002.06, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
    2. Hiroki Ozono & Yoshio Kamijo & Kazumi Shimizu, 2015. "Institutionalize reciprocity to overcome the public goods provision problem," Working Papers 1509, Waseda University, Faculty of Political Science and Economics.
    3. Dasgupta Utteeyo, 2011. "Are Entry Threats Always Credible?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-41, December.

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