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A Public Dilemma: Cooperation with Large Stakes and a Large Audience

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  • Belot, Michele
  • Bhaskar, V
  • van de Ven, Jeroen

Abstract

We analyze a large-stakes prisoner's dilemma game played on a TV show. Players cooperate 40% of the time, demonstrating that social preferences are important; however, cooperation is significantly below the 50% threshold that is required for inequity aversion to sustain cooperation. Women cooperate significantly more than men, while players who have "earned" more of the stake cooperate less. A player's promise to cooperate is also a good predictor of his decision. Surprisingly, a player's probability of cooperation is unrelated to the opponent's characteristics or promise. We argue that inequity aversion alone cannot adequately explain these results; reputational concerns in a public setting might be more important.

Suggested Citation

  • Belot, Michele & Bhaskar, V & van de Ven, Jeroen, 2006. "A Public Dilemma: Cooperation with Large Stakes and a Large Audience," Economics Discussion Papers 9979, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:esx:essedp:9979
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    Cited by:

    1. Belot, Michele & Bhaskar, V & van de Ven, Jeroen, 2007. "Is Beauty only Skin-deep? Disentangling the Beauty Premium on a Game Show," Economics Discussion Papers 8908, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    2. Sutter, Matthias & Strassmair, Christina, 2009. "Communication, cooperation and collusion in team tournaments--An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 506-525, May.

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