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A Simple Approach for Organizing Behavior and Explaining Cooperation in Repeated Games

  • Asen Ivanov

    ()

    (Department of Economics, VCU School of Business)

  • Douglas D. Davis

    ()

    (Department of Economics, VCU School of Business)

  • Korenok Oleg

    ()

    (Department of Economics, VCU School of Business)

We introduce a novel approach for organizing behavior and explaining cooperation in repeated games. Our approach is based on the idea that players differ according to an inherent propensity to cooperate that systematically affects behavior and cooperation levels. We formulate the empirical implications of this idea and test them in the lab. Our data support our approach. Our main conclusions are: (i) players' strategies in a repeated game can be ranked along a single dimension, (ii) this ranking remains stable across repeated games, and (iii) the composition of a group, in terms of its players' propensities, strongly affects cooperation levels.

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Paper provided by VCU School of Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1101.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vcu:wpaper:1101
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Web page: http://www.business.vcu.edu/economics

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  1. Feinberg, Robert M & Husted, Thomas A, 1993. "An Experimental Test of Discount-Rate Effects on Collusive Behaviour in Duopoly Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 153-60, June.
  2. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  3. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1994. "A Course in Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650401, June.
  4. Aoyagi, Masaki & Fr├ęchette, Guillaume, 2009. "Collusion as public monitoring becomes noisy: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1135-1165, May.
  5. ENGLE-WARNICK, Jim & McCAUSLAND, William J. & MILLER, John H., 2004. "The Ghost in the Machine: Inferring Machine-Based Strategies from Observed Behavior," Cahiers de recherche 2004-11, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
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