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Friend or Foe? A Natural Experiment of the Prisoner's Dilemma

  • John A. List

    (University of Chicago and NBER)

This study examines data drawn from the game show Friend or Foe? which is similar to the classic prisoner's dilemma tale: partnerships are endogenously determined, and players work together to earn money, after which they play a one-shot prisoner's dilemma game over large stakes: varying from $200 to (potentially) more than $22,000. The data reveal several interesting insights; perhaps most provocatively, they suggest that even though the game is played in front of an audience of millions of viewers, some of the evidence is consistent with a model of discrimination. The observed patterns of social discrimination are unanticipated, however. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 88 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 463-471

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:88:y:2006:i:3:p:463-471
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  10. Berk, Jonathan B & Hughson, Eric & Vandezande, Kirk, 1996. "The Price Is Right, but Are the Bids? An Investigation of Rational Decision Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 954-70, September.
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  15. James Andreoni & Ragan Petrie, 2005. "Beauty, Gender and Stereotypes: Evidence from Laboratory Experiments," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-22, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  16. Cameron, Lisa A, 1999. "Raising the Stakes in the Ultimatum Game: Experimental Evidence from Indonesia," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 47-59, January.
  17. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  18. John A. List & Robert P. Berrens & Alok K. Bohara & Joe Kerkvliet, 2004. "Examining the Role of Social Isolation on Stated Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 741-752, June.
  19. Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil, 2004. "The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1625-1644, July.
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