IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Processing Data from Social Dilemma Experiments: A Bayesian Comparison of Parametric Estimators


  • Klaus Moeltner

    () (Department of Resource Economics, University of Nevada, Reno)

  • James J. Murphy

    () (Department of Resource Economics & Center for Public Policy and Administration, University of Massachusetts-Amherst)

  • John K. Stranlund

    (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts-Amherst)

  • Maria Alejandra Velez

    (Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, Columbia University)


Observed choices in Social Dilemma Games usually take the form of bounded integers. We propose a doubly-truncated count data framework to process such data. We compare this framework to past approaches based on ordered outcomes and truncated continuous densities using Bayesian estimation and model selection techniques. We find that all three frameworks (i) support the presence of unobserved heterogeneity in individual decision-making, and (ii) agree on the ranking of regulatory treatment effects. The count data framework exhibits superior efficiency and produces more informative predictive distributions for outcomes of interest. The continuous framework fails to allocate adequate probability mass to boundary outcomes, which are often of pivotal importance in these games.

Suggested Citation

  • Klaus Moeltner & James J. Murphy & John K. Stranlund & Maria Alejandra Velez, 2007. "Processing Data from Social Dilemma Experiments: A Bayesian Comparison of Parametric Estimators," Working Papers 07-013, University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics;University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:unr:wpaper:07-013

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2007
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cardenas, Juan Camilo & Stranlund, John & Willis, Cleve, 2002. "Economic inequality and burden-sharing in the provision of local environmental quality," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 379-395, March.
    2. Cardenas, Juan Camilo & Stranlund, John & Willis, Cleve, 2000. "Local Environmental Control and Institutional Crowding-Out," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 1719-1733, October.
    3. Haynes, Michelle & Thompson, Steve & Wright, Mike, 2003. "The determinants of corporate divestment: evidence from a panel of UK firms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 147-166, September.
    4. Stapleton, David C & Young, Douglas J, 1984. "Censored Normal Regression with Measurement Error on the Dependent Variable," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 737-760, May.
    5. Li, Mingliang & Tobias, Justin, 2005. "Bayesian Analysis of Structural Effects in an Ordered Equation System," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12247, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    6. John Hey, 2005. "Why We Should Not Be Silent About Noise," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(4), pages 325-345, December.
    7. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    8. List, John A. & Price, Michael K., 2009. "The role of social connections in charitable fundraising: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 160-169, February.
    9. Jana Vyrastekova & Daan van Soest, 2003. "Centralized Common-Pool Management and Local Community Participation," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(4), pages 500-514.
    10. Hausman, Jerry & McFadden, Daniel, 1984. "Specification Tests for the Multinomial Logit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(5), pages 1219-1240, September.
    11. List John A., 2007. "Field Experiments: A Bridge between Lab and Naturally Occurring Data," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-47, April.
    12. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
    13. Anton, W.R.Q.Wilma Rose Q. & Deltas, George & Khanna, Madhu, 2004. "Incentives for environmental self-regulation and implications for environmental performance," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 632-654, July.
    14. Andreoni, James, 1993. "An Experimental Test of the Public-Goods Crowding-Out Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1317-1327, December.
    15. Chib, Siddhartha & Greenberg, Edward & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Posterior simulation and Bayes factors in panel count data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 33-54, June.
    16. List, John A. & Rasul, Imran, 2011. "Field Experiments in Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    17. Maria Alejandra Velez & James J. Murphy & John K. Stranlund, 2010. "Centralized And Decentralized Management Of Local Common Pool Resources In The Developing World: Experimental Evidence From Fishing Communities In Colombia," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(2), pages 254-265, April.
    18. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Cooperation in Public-Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 891-904, September.
    19. Bischoff, Ivo, 2007. "Institutional choice versus communication in social dilemmas--An experimental approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 20-36, January.
    20. McFadden, Daniel, 1987. "Regression-based specification tests for the multinomial logit model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 63-82.
    21. Chib S. & Jeliazkov I., 2001. "Marginal Likelihood From the Metropolis-Hastings Output," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 96, pages 270-281, March.
    22. Rainer Winkelmann, 2002. "Health Care Reform and the Number of Doctor Visits � An Econometric Analysis," SOI - Working Papers 0210, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
    23. Palfrey, Thomas R & Prisbrey, Jeffrey E, 1997. "Anomalous Behavior in Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 829-846, December.
    24. 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.
    25. repec:feb:artefa:00031 is not listed on IDEAS
    26. Offerman, Theo & Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 1998. "Quantal response models in step-level public good games," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 89-100, February.
    27. Li, Mingliang & Tobias, Justin, 2008. "Bayesian Analysis of Treatment Effects in an Ordered Potential Outcomes Model," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12429, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    28. Anderson, Simon P. & Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A., 1998. "A theoretical analysis of altruism and decision error in public goods games," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 297-323, November.
    29. Frenkel, Michael & Pierdzioch, Christian & Stadtmann, Georg, 2004. "Modeling the intensity of foreign exchange intervention activity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 347-351, December.
    30. Wang, Peiming & Alba, Joseph D., 2006. "A zero-inflated negative binomial regression model with hidden Markov chain," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 209-213, August.
    31. Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd & Samuel Bowles & Colin Camerer & Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis & Richard McElreath & Michael Alvard & Abigail Barr & Jean Ensminger & Kim Hill & Francisco Gil-White & Micha, 2001. "Economic Man in Cross-Cultural Perspective: Behavioral Experiments in Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," Working Papers 01-11-063, Santa Fe Institute.
    32. Li Mingliang & Tobias Justin L, 2006. "Bayesian Analysis of Structural Effects in an Ordered Equation System," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(4), pages 1-24, December.
    33. Ernan Haruvy & Dale O. Stahl & Paul W. Wilson, 2001. "Modeling And Testing For Heterogeneity In Observed Strategic Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 146-157, February.
    34. Jörgen Hellström, 2006. "A bivariate count data model for household tourism demand," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(2), pages 213-226.
    35. Zimmer, David M. & Trivedi, Pravin K., 2006. "Using Trivariate Copulas to Model Sample Selection and Treatment Effects: Application to Family Health Care Demand," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 24, pages 63-76, January.
    36. Jeremy D. Foltz & Kwansoo Kim & Bradford Barham, 2003. "A Dynamic Analysis of University Agricultural Biotechnology Patent Production," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(1), pages 187-197.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Klaus Moeltner & James J. Murphy & John K. Stranlund & Maria Alejandra Velez, 2013. "Institutional heterogeneity in social dilemma games: a Bayesian examination," Chapters,in: Handbook on Experimental Economics and the Environment, chapter 2, pages 67-88 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item


    Social dilemma games; Hierarchical modeling; Bayesian simulation; Common property resource;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C24 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models; Threshold Regression Models
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • Q22 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Fishery

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:unr:wpaper:07-013. 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: (Mehmet Tosun). General contact details of provider: .

    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.