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Games 2018, 9(3), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9030066

Instrumental Reciprocity as an Error

1
Division of Social Science, New York University Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE
2
LISER, L-4366 Belval, Luxembourg
3
Department of Economics, Tilburg University, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 August 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 5 September 2018 / Published: 6 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic Behavior and Game Theory)
Full-Text   |   PDF [239 KB, uploaded 6 September 2018]   |  

Abstract

We study the strategies used by experimental subjects in repeated sequential prisoners’ dilemma games to identify the underlying motivations behind instrumental reciprocity, that is, reciprocation of cooperation only if there is future interaction. Importantly, we designed the games so that instrumental reciprocity is a mistake for payoff-maximizing individuals irrespective of their beliefs. We find that, despite the fact that instrumental reciprocity is suboptimal, it is one of the most frequently used cooperative strategies. Moreover, although the use of instrumental reciprocity is sensitive to the costs of deviating from the payoff-maximizing strategy, these costs alone cannot explain the high frequency with which subjects choose to reciprocate instrumentally. View Full-Text
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Reuben, E.; Suetens, S. Instrumental Reciprocity as an Error. Games 2018, 9, 66.

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