Teaching the Prisoner's Dilemma More Effectively: Engaging the Students
19 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2012
Date Written: December 18, 2012
We introduce a simple but particularly compelling prisoner’s dilemma classroom experiment that can be used in a variety of settings to demonstrate issues surrounding cooperative behavior (e.g., oligopoly, advertising, and public corruption). The prisoner’s dilemma occurs in all 21 class sections in our experiment. This experiment is more likely to engage students in two ways. The “payoff” in the game involves the possibility of students earning a small number of extra points. Also, we find that presenting experimental results to students enhances their interest in the material. For example, we find evidence that female students are less likely to “defect” than are male students, and that international students are more likely and seniors less likely to “defect.” Classroom discussions are greatly enhanced as a result.
Keywords: classroom experiment, prisoner's dilemma, behavioral economics
JEL Classification: A22, C92, D01
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation