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Gender Differences in Prisoners' Dilemma



Charles Darwin (1874) stated that "women are less selfish but men are more competitive". Very recent papers (Eckel & Grossman, 1998, 2001 or Andreoni & Vesterlund 2001, among others) have shown the relevance of gender in altruism in both ultimatum and dictator games. In this paper we analyse the role of gender in one-shot Prisoners' Dilemma. We use payments cards to reveal players' values of the game, what gives information about players' beliefs on rival's cooperativeness. Surprisingly 15% of population choose the cooperative action although the gender effect is quite ambiguous in actions. Within those players who choose the cooperative action, females do so believing her rival will defect.

Suggested Citation

  • Pablo Brañas Garza & Antonio Morales, 2003. "Gender Differences in Prisoners' Dilemma," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2003/19, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
  • Handle: RePEc:cea:doctra:e2003_19

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 2001. "Chivalry and Solidarity in Ultimatum Games," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 171-188, April.
    2. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312.
    3. Brown-Kruse, Jamie & Hummels, David, 1993. "Gender effects in laboratory public goods contribution : Do individuals put their money where their mouth is?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 255-267, December.
    4. Yaw Nyarko & Andrew Schotter, 2002. "An Experimental Study of Belief Learning Using Elicited Beliefs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 971-1005, May.
    5. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-735, May.
    6. Nancy Buchan & Rachel Croson, 1999. "Gender and Culture: International Experimental Evidence from Trust Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 386-391, May.
    7. Hessel Oosterbeek & Randolph Sloof & Gijs van de Kuilen, 2004. "Cultural Differences in Ultimatum Game Experiments: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(2), pages 171-188, June.
    8. Barbara Lichner Ingram & Stephen E. Berger, 1977. "Sex-Role Orientation, Defensiveness, and Competitiveness in Women," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 21(3), pages 501-518, September.
    9. Burnham, Terence C., 2003. "Engineering altruism: a theoretical and experimental investigation of anonymity and gift giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 133-144, January.
    10. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
    11. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
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    More about this item


    Prisoners' Dilemma; cooperation; payment cards; expected utility theory; beliefs; gender differences.;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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