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Group Size and Cooperation among Strangers

We study how group size affects cooperation in an infinitely repeated n-player Prisoner's Dilemma (PD) game. In each repetition of the game, groups of size n less than or equal to M are randomly and anonymously matched from a fixed population of size M to play the n-player PD stage game. We provide conditions for which the contagious strategy (Kandori, 1992) sustains a social norm of cooperation among all M players. Our main finding is that if agents are sufficiently patient, a social norm of society-wide cooperation becomes easier to sustain under the contagious strategy as n converges to M.

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Paper provided by Concordia University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 12010.

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Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: 12 Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:crd:wpaper:12010
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  1. Ellison, Glenn, 1994. "Cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma with Anonymous Random Matching," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 567-88, July.
  2. Okada, Akira, 1993. " The Possibility of Cooperation in an n-Person Prisoners' Dilemma with Institutional Arrangements," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 77(3), pages 629-56, November.
  3. Pedro Bó, 2007. "Social norms, cooperation and inequality," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 89-105, January.
  4. Isaac, R. Mark & Walker, James M. & Williams, Arlington W., 1994. "Group size and the voluntary provision of public goods : Experimental evidence utilizing large groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-36, May.
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