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The Role of Choice in Social Dilemma Experiments

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  • Frank P. Maier-Rigaud

    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn, Germany)

  • Jose Apesteguia

Abstract

On the basis of problems related to asymmetric information, self-governance has been proposed and often empirically found to be superior to the external imposition of rules in social dilemma situations. The present paper suggests and experimentally analyses a different line of argument, namely to what extent behavioral aspects can explain these findings. We study this hypothesis using the simplest, most general dilemma form: the prisoner’s dilemma (PD). We compare behavior when players are given the possibility of choosing between two different representations of the same PD, to behavior when players are externally assigned to play a specific game. We find that cooperation rates are significantly higher in the games that were chosen.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank P. Maier-Rigaud & Jose Apesteguia, 2003. "The Role of Choice in Social Dilemma Experiments," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2003_7, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  • Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2003_07
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    Cited by:

    1. Walkowitz, Gari & Weiss, Arne R., 2017. "“Read my lips! (but only if I was elected)!” Experimental evidence on the effects of electoral competition on promises, shirking and trust," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 348-367.
    2. Marie-Claire Villeval & Manfred Konigstein, 2005. "The Choice of the Agenda in Labor Negotiations: efficiency and behavioral considerations," Working Papers 0508, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    3. Maier-Rigaud, Frank P. & Martinsson, Peter & Staffiero, Gianandrea, 2010. "Ostracism and the provision of a public good: experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 387-395, March.
    4. Gari Walkowitz & Arne R. Weiss, 2014. ""Read my Lips!" Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Electoral Competition on Shirking and Trust," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 05-07, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Freedom of Choice; Self-governance; Social Dilemmas; Framing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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