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Are we more wearful than greedy? Outbounding the incentives to defect in cooperation dilemmas

  • Mantilla, Cesar

Previous studies analyzing the impact of payoffs' cardinality in cooperation dilemmas have concluded that the additional benefits of defecting against a cooperator (the greed dimension) are more salient than the additional costs of cooperating against a defector (the fear dimension). We conduct an experiment to show that when the costs of cooperation exceed its gains, this pattern is reversed. The larger impact of fear over greed on the likelihood to defect is robust to random rematching and to repeated matching, and is mostly driven by a relative rather than an absolute perception of the incentives to cooperate across different dilemmas.

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File URL: http://idei.fr/doc/wp/2014/wp_iast_1408bis.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST) in its series IAST Working Papers with number 14-08.

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Date of creation: Apr 2014
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Handle: RePEc:tse:iastwp:28189
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  1. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  2. Ahn, T K, et al, 2001. " Cooperation in PD Games: Fear, Greed, and History of Play," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 106(1-2), pages 137-55, January.
  3. Matthias Blonski & Peter Ockenfels & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2011. "Equilibrium Selection in the Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma: Axiomatic Approach and Experimental Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 164-92, August.
  4. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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