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Co-operation in Social Dilemmas Through Position Uncertainty

Andrea Gallice () and Ignacio Monzon ()

Economic Journal, 2019, vol. 129, issue 621, 2137-2154

Abstract: We present a natural environment that sustains full co-operation in one-shot social dilemmas among a finite number of self-interested agents. Players sequentially decide whether to contribute to a public good. They do not know their position in the sequence, but observe the actions of some predecessors. Since agents realise that their own action may be observed, they have an incentive to contribute in order to induce potential successors to also do so. Full contribution can then emerge in equilibrium. The same environment leads to full co-operation in the prisoners’ dilemma.

Date: 2019
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Working Paper: Cooperation in Social Dilemmas through Position Uncertainty (2016) Downloads
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