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Determinants of Successful Cooperation in a Face-to-Face Social Dilemma


  • Donja Darai

    () (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich)

  • Silvia Gr�tz

    () (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich)


What makes you a successful cooperator? Using data from the British television game show "Golden Balls" we analyze a prisoner's dilemma game and its pre-play. We find that players strategically select their partner for the PD, e.g., they bear in mind whether contestants lied. Players' expectations about the stake size strongly influence the outcome of the PD: The lower the stakes, the more likely players successfully cooperate. Most interestingly, unilateral cooperation is encouraged by mutually promising not to defect and shaking hands on it, but a mere handshake serves as manipulating device and increases successful defection.

Suggested Citation

  • Donja Darai & Silvia Gr�tz, 2010. "Determinants of Successful Cooperation in a Face-to-Face Social Dilemma," SOI - Working Papers 1006, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Nov 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:soz:wpaper:1006

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    12. Rutstrom, E. Elisabet & Williams, Melonie B., 2000. "Entitlements and fairness:: an experimental study of distributive preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 75-89, September.
    13. Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil, 2004. "The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1625-1644, July.
    14. Scharlemann, Jorn P. W. & Eckel, Catherine C. & Kacelnik, Alex & Wilson, Rick K., 2001. "The value of a smile: Game theory with a human face," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 617-640, October.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Jasper Carrott & conditional co-operation
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2010-09-12 17:11:02


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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10683-016-9488-x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jingnan (Cecilia) Chen & Daniel Houser, 2013. "Promises and Lies: An Experiment on Detecting Deception," Working Papers 1038, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, revised Feb 2013.
    3. Donja Darai & Silvia Grätz, 2012. "Attraction and cooperative behavior," ECON - Working Papers 082, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Jun 2013.
    4. Sanjit Dhami & ali al-Nowaihi, 2012. "Evidential equilibria in static games," Discussion Papers in Economics 12/15, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.

    More about this item


    prisoner's dilemma; cooperative behavior; communication; promises; voting;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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