IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/mpg/wpaper/2012_16.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

When is the Risk of Cooperation Worth Taking? The Prisoner’s Dilemma as a Game of Multiple Motives

Author

Listed:
  • Christoph Engel

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

  • Lilia Zhurakhovska

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

Abstract

Both in the field and in the lab, participants frequently cooperate, despite the fact that the situation can be modelled as a simultaneous, symmetric prisoner’s dilemma. This experiment manipulates the payoff in case both players defect, and explains the degree of cooperation by a combination of five motives: the size of gains from cooperation, expectations about cooperativeness in the population in question, the degree of risk and loss aversion, and the degree by which a participant is averse to inequity. Information about these motivational forces stems from additional within subjects tests. All five factors are significant only if one controls for all the other motives, which suggests that a prisoner’s dilemma is a game jointly characterised by these five motives. The need to control for the remaining explanations seems to be the reason why earlier attempts at explaining choices in the prisoner’s dilemma with personality have not been successful.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Engel & Lilia Zhurakhovska, 2012. "When is the Risk of Cooperation Worth Taking? The Prisoner’s Dilemma as a Game of Multiple Motives," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_16, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Aug 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2012_16
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.coll.mpg.de/pdf_dat/2012_16online.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2004. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 857-869, September.
    2. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
    3. Christophe Boone & Carolyn Declerck & Toko Kiyonari, 2010. "Inducing Cooperative Behavior among Proselfs versus Prosocials: The Moderating Role of Incentives and Trust," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 54(5), pages 799-824, October.
    4. Cornes,Richard & Sandler,Todd, 1996. "The Theory of Externalities, Public Goods, and Club Goods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521477185.
    5. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    6. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
    7. Keser, Claudia & van Winden, Frans, 2000. " Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 23-39, March.
    8. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
    9. Ahn, T K & Ostrom, Elinor & Shupp, Robert & Walker, James, 2001. "Cooperation in PD Games: Fear, Greed, and History of Play," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 106(1-2), pages 137-155, January.
    10. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
    11. Simon Gaechter & Eric Johnson & Andreas Herrmann, 2007. "Individual-Level Loss Aversion In Riskless And Risky Choices," Discussion Papers 2007-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    12. Mariana Blanco & Dirk Engelmann & Alexander Koch & Hans-Theo Normann, 2010. "Belief elicitation in experiments: is there a hedging problem?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(4), pages 412-438, December.
    13. Brandts, Jordi & Schram, Arthur, 2001. "Cooperation and noise in public goods experiments: applying the contribution function approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 399-427, February.
    14. Kobberling, Veronika & Wakker, Peter P., 2005. "An index of loss aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 119-131, May.
    15. Jeanette Brosig & Thomas Riechmann & Joachim Weimann, 2007. "Selfish in the end? An investigation of consistency and stability of individual behaviour," FEMM Working Papers 07005, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    16. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gachter, 2010. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 541-556, March.
    17. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Goette, 2007. "Do Workers Work More if Wages Are High? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 298-317, March.
    18. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
    19. Hong, Kessely & Bohnet, Iris, 2007. "Status and distrust: The relevance of inequality and betrayal aversion," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 197-213, April.
    20. Poppe, Matthijs & Utens, Lisbeth, 1986. "Effects of greed and fear of being gypped in a social dilemma situation with changing pool size," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 61-73, March.
    21. Rosenthal, Robert W., 1981. "Games of perfect information, predatory pricing and the chain-store paradox," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 92-100, August.
    22. Richard H. Thaler & Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman & Alan Schwartz, 1997. "The Effect of Myopia and Loss Aversion on Risk Taking: An Experimental Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 647-661.
    23. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2004. "Trust, risk and betrayal," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 467-484, December.
    24. Blanco, Mariana & Engelmann, Dirk & Normann, Hans Theo, 2011. "A within-subject analysis of other-regarding preferences," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 321-338, June.
    25. Matthew W. Steele & James T. Tedeschi, 1967. "Matrix indices and strategy choices in mixed-motive games," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 11(2), pages 198-205, June.
    26. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    27. Schmidt, David & Shupp, Robert & Walker, James & Ahn, T. K. & Ostrom, Elinor, 2001. "Dilemma games: game parameters and matching protocols," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 357-377, December.
    28. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Thorsten Chmura & Christoph Engel & Markus Englerth, 2013. "Selfishness As a Potential Cause of Crime. A Prison Experiment," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_05, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    efficiency; Risk aversion; Conditional Cooperation; prisoner’s dilemma; Belief; Loss Aversion; Risky Dictator Game;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2012_16. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marc Martin) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/mppggde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.