Game Harmony: A Behavioral Approach to Predicting Cooperation in Games

34 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2009 Last revised: 15 Jul 2009

See all articles by Daniel John Zizzo

Daniel John Zizzo

University of Queensland

Jonathan H. W. Tan

Nottingham University Business School

Date Written: June 2009


Game harmony describes how harmonious (non-conflictual) or disharmonious (conflictual) the interests of players are in a game, as embodied in the game’s raw payoffs. It departs from the traditional game-theoretic approach in that it is a non-equilibrium behavioral approach which can be psychologically founded. We experimentally test the predictive power of basic game harmony measures on a variety of well-known 2×2 games and randomly-generated 2×2 and 3×3 generic games. Our findings support its all rounded predictive power. Game harmony provides an alternative tool that is both powerful and parsimonious, as it does not require information on a subject’s degree of rationality, social preferences, beliefs and perceptions.

Keywords: games, game harmony, cooperation, behavioral economics

Suggested Citation

Zizzo, Daniel John and Tan, Jonathan H. W., Game Harmony: A Behavioral Approach to Predicting Cooperation in Games (June 2009). Nottingham University Business School Research Paper No. 2009-10. Available at SSRN: or

Daniel John Zizzo

University of Queensland ( email )

St Lucia QLD 4072, Australia
Brisbane, Queensland


Jonathan H. W. Tan (Contact Author)

Nottingham University Business School ( email )

Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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