Partner Selection Supported by Opaque Reputation Promotes Cooperative Behavior

Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 11, No. 6, November 2016, pp. 589-600

12 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2016 Last revised: 19 Feb 2018

See all articles by Valerio Capraro

Valerio Capraro

Middlesex University

Francesca Giardini

Italian National Research Council (CNR) - Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC)

Daniele Vilone

Italian National Research Council (CNR) - Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC)

Mario Paolucci

Italian National Research Council (CNR) - Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC)

Date Written: October 6, 2016

Abstract

Reputation plays a major role in human societies, and it has been proposed as an explanation for the evolution of cooperation. While the majority of previous studies equates reputation with a transparent and complete history of players' past decisions, in real life, reputations are often ambiguous and opaque. Using web-based experiments, we explore the extent to which opaque reputation works in isolating defectors, with and without partner selection opportunities. Our results show that low reputation works as a signal of untrustworthiness, whereas medium or high reputation are not taken into account by participants for orienting their choices. We also find that reputation without partner selection does not promote cooperative behavior; that is, defectors do not turn into cooperators only for the sake of getting a positive reputation. Finally, in a third study, we find that, when reputation is pivotal to selection, then a substantial proportion of would-be defectors turn into cooperators. Taken together, these results provide insights on the characteristics of reputation and on the way in which humans make use of it when selecting partners but also when knowing that they will be selected.

Keywords: reputation, partner selection, cooperation, prisoner's dilemma, online transactions

JEL Classification: C70, C79, C90, C91, C92, D64, D70, D71, H41

Suggested Citation

Capraro, Valerio and Giardini, Francesca and Vilone, Daniele and Paolucci, Mario, Partner Selection Supported by Opaque Reputation Promotes Cooperative Behavior (October 6, 2016). Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 11, No. 6, November 2016, pp. 589-600. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2849085

Valerio Capraro (Contact Author)

Middlesex University ( email )

The Burroughs
London, NW4 4BT
United Kingdom

Francesca Giardini

Italian National Research Council (CNR) - Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC) ( email )

Viale Marx 15
Roma, RM 00137
Italy

Daniele Vilone

Italian National Research Council (CNR) - Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC) ( email )

Viale Marx 15
Roma, RM 00137
Italy

Mario Paolucci

Italian National Research Council (CNR) - Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC) ( email )

Via Palestro, 32
Roma, RM 00185
Italy

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
56
Abstract Views
589
rank
377,091
PlumX Metrics