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Preferences and Beliefs in a Sequential Social Dilemma: A Within-Subjects Analysis

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  • Blanco, Mariana

    () (Universidad del Rosario)

  • Engelmann, Dirk

    () (Royal Holloway, University of London)

  • Koch, Alexander K.

    () (Aarhus University)

  • Normann, Hans-Theo

    () (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Abstract

Within-subject data from sequential social dilemma experiments reveal a correlation of first-and second-mover decisions for which two channels may be responsible, that our experiment allows to separate: i) a direct, preference-based channel that influences both first- and second-mover decisions; ii) an indirect channel, where second-mover decisions influence beliefs via a consensus effect, and the first-mover decision is a best response to these beliefs. We find strong evidence for the indirect channel: beliefs about second-mover cooperation are biased toward own second-mover behavior, and most subjects best respond to stated beliefs. But when first movers know the true probability of second-mover cooperation, subjects' own second moves still have predictive power regarding their first moves, suggesting that the direct channel also plays a role.

Suggested Citation

  • Blanco, Mariana & Engelmann, Dirk & Koch, Alexander K. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2009. "Preferences and Beliefs in a Sequential Social Dilemma: A Within-Subjects Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 4624, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4624
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    consensus effect; experimental economics; social dilemmas;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General

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