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Risk, Temptation, and Efficiency in Prisoner's Dilemmas

Simon Gaechter (), Kyeongtae Lee () and Martin Sefton ()
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Simon Gaechter: University of Nottingham
Kyeongtae Lee: University of Nottingham
Martin Sefton: University of Nottingham

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Simon Gächter ()

No 2020-15, Discussion Papers from The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham

Abstract: We examine the effect of payoff variations on cooperation in one-shot prisoner's dilemma games. We focus on three factors: risk, temptation, and efficiency, which we vary as orthogonal treatments. We find that temptation has the largest impact on cooperation. Temptation directly deters cooperation and indirectly harms cooperation by lowering beliefs about the opponent's cooperativeness. Efficiency indirectly affects cooperation through beliefs, but the magnitude of the effect is relatively small compared to temptation. Risk does not have a significant effect on cooperation. Our finding suggests that curbing the level of temptation is the most important way to improve cooperation in social dilemmas.

Keywords: prisoner's dilemma; cooperation; temptation; efficiency; risk (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp and nep-gth
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