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Patience or Fairness? Analyzing Social Preferences in Repeated Games

  • John Duffy
  • Felix Munoz-Garcia

    ()

    (School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University)

This paper investigates how the introduction of social preferences affects players’ equilibrium behavior in both one-shot and infinitely repeated versions of the Prisoner’s Dilemma game. We first show that defection survives as the unique equilibrium of the stage game if at least one player is not too concerned about inequity aversion. Second, we demonstrate that in the infinitely repeated version of the game, fairness concerns operate as a “substitute: for time discounting, as fairness helps sustain cooperation for lower discount factors. We then extend our results to more general simultaneous-move games, and more general preferences. Furthermore, we examine how the introduction of incomplete information about players’ social preferences can help in the selection of the efficient cooperative outcome. Finally, we point out the implications of our findings for the design and analysis of experiments involving repeated games. In particular, repeated game equilibria which are thought to be supported by sufficiently large discount factors, may in fact be sustained by a combination of discounting and social preference parameters, an observation that may help rationalize recent experimental findings.

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File URL: http://faculty.ses.wsu.edu/WorkingPapers/Munoz/WP2009-12.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
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Paper provided by School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University in its series Working Papers with number 2009-12.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: May 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wsu:wpaper:munoz-4
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Web page: http://faculty.ses.wsu.edu/

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  1. Oechssler, Jörg, 2011. "Finitely repeated games with social preferences," Working Papers 0512, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  2. Russell Cooper & Douglas V. DeJong & Thomas W. Ross, 1992. "Cooperation without Reputation: Experimental Evidence from Prisoner's Dilemma Games," Papers 0036, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
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  12. Anderhub, Vital & Engelmann, Dirk & Guth, Werner, 2002. "An experimental study of the repeated trust game with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 197-216, June.
  13. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2009. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Good Experiments," Discussion Papers 2009-04, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
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  17. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
  18. Paul J. Healy, 2007. "Group Reputations, Stereotypes, and Cooperation in a Repeated Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1751-1773, December.
  19. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2008. "Heterogeneous Social Preferences and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Good Experiments," TWI Research Paper Series 27, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
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  22. Maria Montero, 2007. "Inequity Aversion May Increase Inequity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages C192-C204, 03.
  23. Pedro Dal Bó, 2002. "Cooperation Under the Shadow of the Future: Experimental Evidence from Infinitely Repeated Games," Working Papers 2002-20, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  24. Masaki Aoyagi & Guillaume R. Frechette, 2004. "Collusion in Repeated Games with Imperfect Public Monitoring," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000127, UCLA Department of Economics.
  25. Aoyagi, Masaki & Fréchette, Guillaume, 2009. "Collusion as public monitoring becomes noisy: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1135-1165, May.
  26. 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.
  27. Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Fairness in Repeated Games," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt0nz5b4mb, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  28. 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.
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  31. John Duffy & Felix Munoz-Garcia, 2010. "Signaling Concerns about Fairness: Cooperation under Uncertain Social Preferences," Working Papers 2010-19, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
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