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Colorful economics: Seeing red in a prisoner's dilemma game

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  • KAUFMANN, Wesley
  • VAN WITTELOOSTUIJN, Arjen
  • BOONE, Christophe

Abstract

The color red has been found to influence behavior and performance in a wide range of settings. We introduce the color red in a Prisoner’s Dilemma by performing a series of oneshot and repeated Bertrand duopoly laboratory games. We hypothesize a positive relationship between the color red and the number of competitive choices. Furthermore, we expect to see a habituation effect, implying that the impact of red on competitive behavior is more pronounced at the beginning of the experiment, to then fade away over time. Results indicate that the effect of the color red on cooperative behavior is more complex than hypothesized. We find no main effect for the color red, but we do reveal a significant habituation effect of the color red in the one-shot games. Contrary to our expectation, however, an escalation effect emerges in the repeated game, which suggests that the competition-enhancing effect of red is reinforced by receiving feedback about the other party’s choice.

Suggested Citation

  • KAUFMANN, Wesley & VAN WITTELOOSTUIJN, Arjen & BOONE, Christophe, 2009. "Colorful economics: Seeing red in a prisoner's dilemma game," ACED Working Papers 2009007, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ant:acedwp:2009007
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    File URL: http://anet.uantwerpen.be/docman/irua/13c7f6/48ea5241.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Burnham, Terence & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L., 2000. "Friend-or-foe intentionality priming in an extensive form trust game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 57-73, September.
    2. Robert H. Frank & Thomas Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1993. "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 159-171, Spring.
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    4. Boone, Christophe & De Brabander, Bert & van Witteloostuijn, Arjen, 1999. "The impact of personality on behavior in five Prisoner's Dilemma games," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 343-377, June.
    5. Scharlemann, Jorn P. W. & Eckel, Catherine C. & Kacelnik, Alex & Wilson, Rick K., 2001. "The value of a smile: Game theory with a human face," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 617-640, October.
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    7. Ortmann, Andreas & Tichy, Lisa K., 1999. "Gender differences in the laboratory: evidence from prisoner's dilemma games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 327-339, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Color; Cooperation; Prisoners dilemma game;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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