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The Role of Choice in Social Dilemma Experiments

  • Frank P. Maier-Rigaud
  • Jose Apesteguia

On the basis of problems related to asymmetric information, self-governance has been proposed and often empirically found to be superior to the external imposition of rules in social dilemma situations. The present paper suggests and experimentally analyses a different line of argument, namely to what extent behavioral aspects can explain these findings. We study this hypothesis using the simplest, most general dilemma form: the prisoner's dilemma (PD). We compare behavior when players are given the possibility of choosing between two different representations of the same PD, to behavior when players are externally assigned to play a specific game. We find that cooperation rates are significantly higher in the games that were chosen.

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File URL: http://www.wiwi.uni-bonn.de/bgsepapers/bonedp/bgse22_2003.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse22_2003.

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Length: 28
Date of creation: Oct 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse22_2003
Contact details of provider: Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Fax: +49 228 73 6884
Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

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  1. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
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  5. Sen, Amartya, 1988. "Freedom of choice : Concept and content," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 269-294, March.
  6. Martin J Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 2009. "A Course in Game Theory," Levine's Bibliography 814577000000000225, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  8. James Andreoni & John H Miller, 1997. "Rational Cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoner's dilemma: experimental evidence," Levine's Working Paper Archive 670, David K. Levine.
  9. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  10. Roth, Alvin E, 1988. "Laboratory Experimentation in Economics: A Methodological Overview," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(393), pages 974-1031, December.
  11. R. Cookson, 2000. "Framing Effects in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 55-79, June.
  12. Selten, Reinhard & Stoecker, Rolf, 1986. "End behavior in sequences of finite Prisoner's Dilemma supergames A learning theory approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 47-70, March.
  13. Druckman, James N., 2001. "Evaluating framing effects," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 91-101, February.
  14. Puppe, Clemens, 1996. "An Axiomatic Approach to "Preference for Freedom of Choice"," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 174-199, January.
  15. Merrill M. Flood, 1958. "Some Experimental Games," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 5(1), pages 5-26, October.
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