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It's the thought that counts: The role of intentions in noisy repeated games

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  • Rand, David Gertler
  • Fudenberg, Drew
  • Dreber, Anna

Abstract

We examine cooperation in repeated interactions where intended actions are implemented with noise but intentions are perfectly observable. Observable intentions lead to more cooperation compared to control games where intentions are unobserved, allowing subjects to reach similar cooperation levels as in games without noise. Most subjects condition exclusively on intentions, and use simpler, lower-memory strategies compared to games where intentions are unobservable. When the returns to cooperation are high, some subjects are tolerant, using good outcomes to forgive attempted defections; when the returns to cooperation are low, some subjects are punitive, using bad outcomes to punish accidental defections.

Suggested Citation

  • Rand, David Gertler & Fudenberg, Drew & Dreber, Anna, 2015. "It's the thought that counts: The role of intentions in noisy repeated games," Scholarly Articles 27304431, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:27304431
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    Cited by:

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    2. Kristina Czura & Anett John & Lisa Spantig, 2020. "Flexible Microcredit: Effects on Loan Repayment and Social Pressure," CESifo Working Paper Series 8322, CESifo.
    3. Clithero, John A., 2018. "Response times in economics: Looking through the lens of sequential sampling models," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 61-86.
    4. Sonntag, Axel & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2019. "Personal accountability and cooperation in teams," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 428-448.
    5. Friehe, Tim & Utikal, Verena, 2018. "Intentions under cover – Hiding intentions is considered unfair," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 11-21.
    6. Shuhua Chang & Zhipeng Zhang & Yu Li & Yu E Wu & Yunya Xie, 2018. "Investment preference promotes cooperation in spatial public goods game," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(11), pages 1-14, November.
    7. Pikulina, Elena S. & Tergiman, Chloe, 2020. "Preferences for power," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 185(C).
    8. Masaki Aoyagi & V. Bhaskar & Guillaume R. Fréchette, 2019. "The Impact of Monitoring in Infinitely Repeated Games: Perfect, Public, and Private," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 1-43, February.
    9. Arechar, Antonio A. & Dreber, Anna & Fudenberg, Drew & Rand, David G., 2017. "“I'm just a soul whose intentions are good”: The role of communication in noisy repeated games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 726-743.
    10. Persson, Emil, 2018. "Testing the impact of frustration and anger when responsibility is low," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 435-448.
    11. Mitsuhiro Nakamura & Hisashi Ohtsuki, 2016. "Optimal Decision Rules in Repeated Games Where Players Infer an Opponent’s Mind via Simplified Belief Calculation," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(3), pages 1-23, July.
    12. Persson, Emil, 2016. "Frustration and Anger in Games: A First Empirical Test of the Theory," Working Papers in Economics 647, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    13. Toussaert, Séverine, 2017. "Intention-based reciprocity and signaling of intentions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 132-144.
    14. Guillaume R. Fréchette & Sevgi Yuksel, 2017. "Infinitely repeated games in the laboratory: four perspectives on discounting and random termination," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(2), pages 279-308, June.

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    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General

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