Population Learning of Cooperative Behavior in a Three-Person Centipede Game

16 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2004 Last revised: 24 Feb 2008

See all articles by Ryan O. Murphy

Ryan O. Murphy

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Amnon Rapoport

University of Arizona - Eller College of Management

James E. Parco

Colorado College

Abstract

We consider mixed populations (N=21) of genuine (humans) and artificial (robots) agents, repeatedly interacting in small groups whose composition is changed randomly from round to round. Our purpose is to study the spread of cooperative or non-cooperative behavior in the population over time by manipulating the behavior of the robots (cooperative vs. non-cooperative) and their proportion in the population. Our results convey a positive message: adding a handful of cooperative robots increases the propensity of the genuine subjects to cooperate over time, whereas adding a handful of non-cooperative agents does not reduce this propensity. If there are enough persistent cooperative subjects in the population, they not only negate the non-cooperative behavior of the robots but also induce other subjects to behave more cooperatively.

Keywords: Centipede game, population dynamics, cooperation, trust

JEL Classification: C72, C92, D81

Suggested Citation

Murphy, Ryan O. and Rapoport, Amnon and Parco, Jim, Population Learning of Cooperative Behavior in a Three-Person Centipede Game. Rationality and Society, Vol. 16, pp. 91-120, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=605177

Ryan O. Murphy (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Z├╝rich
Switzerland

Amnon Rapoport

University of Arizona - Eller College of Management ( email )

McClelland Hall
P.O. Box 210108
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States
520-621-9325 (Phone)
520-621-4171 (Fax)

Jim Parco

Colorado College ( email )

Department of Economics and Business
14 E. Cache la Poudre St.
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
United States
719-389-6416 (Phone)
719-389-6927 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/dept/EC/parco.asp

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