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Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma with Choice and Refusal of Partners


  • Stanley, E.A.
  • Ashlock, Daniel
  • Tesfatsion, Leigh


This article extends the traditional iterated prisoner's dilemma (IPD) with round-robin partner matching by permitting players to choose and refuse partners in each iteration on the basis of continually updated expected payoffs. Comparative computer experiments are reported that indicate the introduction of partner choice and refusal accelerates the emergence of mutual cooperation in the IPD relative to round-robin partner matching. Moreover, in contrast to findings for round-robin partner matching (in which the average payoffs of the players tend to be either clustered around the mutual cooperation payoff or widely scattered), the average payoff scores of the players with choice and refusal of partners tend to cluster into two or more distinct narrow bands. Preliminary analytical and computational sensitivity studies are also reported for several key parameters. Related work can be accessed here:

Suggested Citation

  • Stanley, E.A. & Ashlock, Daniel & Tesfatsion, Leigh, 1994. "Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma with Choice and Refusal of Partners," Staff General Research Papers Archive 11180, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:11180

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    iterated prisoner's dilemma; preferential partner selection; evolutionary game theory;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • C6 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling
    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty


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