Conditional Cooperation

Disentangling Strategic from Non-Strategic Motivations

E. Reuben, S. Suetens

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

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Abstract

We use a novel experimental design to examine the role of reputational concerns in explaining conditional cooperation in social dilemmas. By using the strategy method in a repeated sequential prisoners’ dilemma in which the probabilistic end is known, we can distinguish between strategically and non-strategically motivated cooperation. Second movers who are strong reciprocators ought to conditionally cooperate with first movers irrespective of whether the game continues or not. In contrast, strategically motivated second movers conditionally cooperate only if the game continues and they otherwise defect. Experimental results, with two different subject pools, indicate reputation building is used around 30% of the time, which accounts for between 50% and 75% of all realized cooperative actions. The percentage of strong reciprocators varied between 6% to 23%.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherMicroeconomics
Number of pages26
Volume2008-33
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper
Volume2008-33

Fingerprint

social dilemma
prisoner
reputation
time

Keywords

  • cooperation
  • reputation building
  • strong reciprocity
  • repeated prisoners’ dilemma

Cite this

Reuben, E., & Suetens, S. (2008). Conditional Cooperation: Disentangling Strategic from Non-Strategic Motivations. (CentER Discussion Paper; Vol. 2008-33). Tilburg: Microeconomics.
Reuben, E. ; Suetens, S. / Conditional Cooperation : Disentangling Strategic from Non-Strategic Motivations. Tilburg : Microeconomics, 2008. (CentER Discussion Paper).
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Reuben, E & Suetens, S 2008 'Conditional Cooperation: Disentangling Strategic from Non-Strategic Motivations' CentER Discussion Paper, vol. 2008-33, Microeconomics, Tilburg.

Conditional Cooperation : Disentangling Strategic from Non-Strategic Motivations. / Reuben, E.; Suetens, S.

Tilburg : Microeconomics, 2008. (CentER Discussion Paper; Vol. 2008-33).

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

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N2 - We use a novel experimental design to examine the role of reputational concerns in explaining conditional cooperation in social dilemmas. By using the strategy method in a repeated sequential prisoners’ dilemma in which the probabilistic end is known, we can distinguish between strategically and non-strategically motivated cooperation. Second movers who are strong reciprocators ought to conditionally cooperate with first movers irrespective of whether the game continues or not. In contrast, strategically motivated second movers conditionally cooperate only if the game continues and they otherwise defect. Experimental results, with two different subject pools, indicate reputation building is used around 30% of the time, which accounts for between 50% and 75% of all realized cooperative actions. The percentage of strong reciprocators varied between 6% to 23%.

AB - We use a novel experimental design to examine the role of reputational concerns in explaining conditional cooperation in social dilemmas. By using the strategy method in a repeated sequential prisoners’ dilemma in which the probabilistic end is known, we can distinguish between strategically and non-strategically motivated cooperation. Second movers who are strong reciprocators ought to conditionally cooperate with first movers irrespective of whether the game continues or not. In contrast, strategically motivated second movers conditionally cooperate only if the game continues and they otherwise defect. Experimental results, with two different subject pools, indicate reputation building is used around 30% of the time, which accounts for between 50% and 75% of all realized cooperative actions. The percentage of strong reciprocators varied between 6% to 23%.

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Reuben E, Suetens S. Conditional Cooperation: Disentangling Strategic from Non-Strategic Motivations. Tilburg: Microeconomics. 2008. (CentER Discussion Paper).