Contingent Social Utility in the Prisoners’ Dilemma

Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol. 45, pp. 1-17, 2001

17 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2010

See all articles by Robert S. Gibbons

Robert S. Gibbons

Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Sloan School and Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Leaf Van Boven

University of Colorado Boulder

Date Written: 2001

Abstract

We examined a central assumption of recent theories: that social utility is contingent on impressions of other people. We manipulated participants’ impression of the other player in a prisoners’ dilemma. We then measured participants’ own preferences in the PD, their estimates of the other player’s preferences in the PD, their prediction of the other player’s move, and their own move.We hypothesized that the participants’ move would maximize their stated preferences, given their prediction of the other player’s move, and that participants’ preferences would be contingent on their impression of the other player. Results supported both hypotheses and revealed that participants’ preferences were contingent more on their estimate of the other player’s preferences than on their prediction of the other player’s move.

Keywords: Prisoners’ dilemma, Social utility, Contingent utility, Behavioral game theory

Suggested Citation

Gibbons, Robert S. and Van Boven, Leaf, Contingent Social Utility in the Prisoners’ Dilemma (2001). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol. 45, pp. 1-17, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1532565

Robert S. Gibbons

Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Sloan School and Department of Economics ( email )

E52-432
MIT
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-0283 (Phone)
617-258-6855 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Leaf Van Boven (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Boulder ( email )

University of Colorado Boulder
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, 345 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
303.735.5238 (Phone)
303.492.2967 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://psych.colorado.edu/~vanboven/

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