Multiple Prisoner's Dilemma Games with(out) an Outside Option: an Experimental Study

Theory and Decision 54 (3):207-229 (2003)
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Abstract

Experiments in which subjects play simultaneously several finite two-person prisoner's dilemma supergames with and without an outside option reveal that: an attractive outside option enhances cooperation in the prisoner's dilemma game, if the payoff for mutual defection is negative, subjects' tendency to avoid losses leads them to cooperate; while this tendency makes them stick to mutual defection if its payoff is positive, subjects use probabilistic start and endeffect behavior.

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