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Cooperation in Symmetric and Asymmetric Prisoner's Dilemma Games

  • Martin Beckenkamp

    ()

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

  • Heike Hennig-Schmidt

    ()

    (Laboratory for Experimental Economics, University of Bonn)

  • Frank P. Maier-Rigaud

    ()

    (Laboratory for Experimental Economics, University of Bonn, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)

We experimentally study the effect of asymmetry on cooperation in a 40 period prisoner's dilemma game in fixed partner design. We distinguish between a high and low payoff symmetric prisoner's dilemma and an asymmetric game combined out of both symmetric ones. Asymmetry significantly decreases cooperation, as low-type players are more likely to defect after mutual cooperation while high-type players initiate cooperation more often than the former. Asymmetry also has a significant negative effect on the stability of cooperation rendering long sequences of mutual cooperation extremely rare.

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Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in its series Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods with number 2006_25.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2006_25
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