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A Public Dilemma: Cooperation with Large Stakes and a Large Audience

Belot, Michele and Bhaskar, V and van de Ven, Jeroen (2006) A Public Dilemma: Cooperation with Large Stakes and a Large Audience. Working Paper. University of Essex, Department of Economics, Economics Discussion Papers, Colchester.


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We analyze a large-stakes prisoner's dilemma game played on a TV show. Players cooperate 40% of the time, demonstrating that social preferences are important; however, cooperation is significantly below the 50% threshold that is required for inequity aversion to sustain cooperation. Women cooperate significantly more than men, while players who have "earned" more of the stake cooperate less. A player's promise to cooperate is also a good predictor of his decision. Surprisingly, a player's probability of cooperation is unrelated to the opponent's characteristics or promise. We argue that inequity aversion alone cannot adequately explain these results; reputational concerns in a public setting might be more important.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2014 12:54
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2014 12:54

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