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The Problem of Cooperation and Reputation Based Choice

Author

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  • Bergh, Andreas

    () (Department of Economics, Lund University)

  • Engseld, Peter

    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

Abstract

The standard method when analyzing the problem of cooperation using evolutionary game theory is to assume that people are randomly matched against each other in repeated games. In this paper we discuss the implications of allowing agents to have preferences over possible opponents. We model reputation as a noisy observation of actual propensity to cooperate and illustrate how reputation based choice of opponents can explain both the emergence and deterioration of cooperation. We show that empirical and experimental evidence of cooperation is consistent with our hypothesis that people behave so as to minimize the risk of damaging their reputation as nice, cooperative persons.

Suggested Citation

  • Bergh, Andreas & Engseld, Peter, 2005. "The Problem of Cooperation and Reputation Based Choice," Working Papers 2005:27, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 04 May 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2005_027
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cooperation; Prisoners Dilemma; Signaling; Reputation; Altruism; Institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General

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