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