The Description-Experience Gap in Cooperation

58 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2022

See all articles by Ozan Isler

Ozan Isler

Queensland University of Technology - School of Economics and Finance

Orestis Kopsacheilis

Technical University Munich

Dennie van Dolder

University of Essex - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 24, 2022

Abstract

Conditional cooperation is usually investigated in experiments where the choices of others are known. In many circumstances, however, there is uncertainty about others’ cooperativeness. Using a novel experimental protocol, we manipulate the perceived likelihood of cooperation in a Prisoner's Dilemma, and whether such information is described unambiguously or learned through experience and thus ambiguous. We report on a ‘description-experience gap’ in which rare events appear to be more influential under experience than under description. This contrasts with earlier results from the individual choice literature. We show how stronger priors under social than individual uncertainty can account for this reversal.

Keywords: Decisions from description, Decisions from experience, Prisoner's dilemma, Cooperation, Social uncertainty, Ambiguity

JEL Classification: C72, C92, D81, D83

Suggested Citation

Isler, Ozan and Kopsacheilis, Orestis and van Dolder, Dennie, The Description-Experience Gap in Cooperation (October 24, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4256844 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4256844

Ozan Isler

Queensland University of Technology - School of Economics and Finance

Orestis Kopsacheilis (Contact Author)

Technical University Munich ( email )

Germany

Dennie Van Dolder

University of Essex - Department of Economics ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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