Instrumental reciprocity as an error

Ernesto Reuben, Sigrid Suetens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number66
JournalGames
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 6 2018

Fingerprint

Reciprocity
Costs
Prisoner's Dilemma Game
Choose
Game
Interaction
Strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics

Cite this

Instrumental reciprocity as an error. / Reuben, Ernesto; Suetens, Sigrid.

In: Games, Vol. 9, No. 3, 66, 06.09.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Reuben, Ernesto ; Suetens, Sigrid. / Instrumental reciprocity as an error. In: Games. 2018 ; Vol. 9, No. 3.
@article{7c4d11f495084c00864df19440ed2178,
title = "Instrumental reciprocity as an error",
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.",
author = "Ernesto Reuben and Sigrid Suetens",
year = "2018",
month = "9",
day = "6",
doi = "10.3390/g9030066",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "9",
journal = "Games",
issn = "2073-4336",
publisher = "Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Instrumental reciprocity as an error

AU - Reuben, Ernesto

AU - Suetens, Sigrid

PY - 2018/9/6

Y1 - 2018/9/6

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85055586106&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85055586106&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3390/g9030066

DO - 10.3390/g9030066

M3 - Article

VL - 9

JO - Games

JF - Games

SN - 2073-4336

IS - 3

M1 - 66

ER -