A Game Theoretic Taxonomy of Social Dilemmas

23 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2002

See all articles by Martin Beckenkamp

Martin Beckenkamp

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Date Written: 2002


Both social psychology and experimental economics empirically investigate social dilemmas. However, these two disciplines sometimes use different notions for very similar scenarios. While it is irrelevant for economists whether an experimental public-good game is conceptualised as a take-some or give-some game - i.e. whether something is conceptualised as produced or extracted - it is not irrelevant for some psychologists: They grasp public-good games as 'give-some' games. And, whereas most economists define social dilemmas in reference to a taxonomy of goods, some psychologists think that dominant strategies are a necessary attribute. This paper presents a taxonomy that relies on a formal game-theoretic analysis of social dilemmas, which integrates and clarifies both approaches. Because this taxonomy focuses on the underlying incentive structure, it facilitates the evaluation of experimental results from both social psychology and experimental economics.

Suggested Citation

Beckenkamp, Martin, A Game Theoretic Taxonomy of Social Dilemmas (2002). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=324300 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.324300

Martin Beckenkamp (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, DE

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