Cooperation and fairness: the flood-Dresher experiment revisited
Tom De Herdt
Review of Social Economy, 2003, vol. 61, issue 2, 183-210
In this paper we set out to deepen our understanding of the importance of fairness in decision-making within the context of Prisoners' Dilemma games. A review of the “historic” Flood-Dresher experiment provides a useful empirical basis, as it allows us to look in considerable detail at how the experimental players made up their minds. We try out several game-theoretical readings of the experimental results, and find some value in Adam Smith's age-old concept of rules of conduct. We find that fairness considerations are much more than mere excuses for taking a free ride or pointers to focal points. They seem to play a considerable role both at a conscious and at a less-than-conscious level.
Keywords: cooperation; fairness; prisoners' dilemma; rules of conduct (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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