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

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  • John A. List

    (University of Chicago and NBER)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • John A. List, 2006. "Friend or Foe? A Natural Experiment of the Prisoner's Dilemma," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 463-471, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:88:y:2006:i:3:p:463-471
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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