Friend or Foe? A Natural Experiment of the Prisoner's Dilemma
NBER Working Paper No. 12097
This study examines data drawn from the game show Friend or Foe?, which is similar to the classic prisoner’s dilemma tale: partnerships are endogenously determined, players work together to earn money, after which, they play a one-shot prisoner’s dilemma game over large stakes: varying from $200 to (potentially) more than $22,000. If one were to conduct such an experiment in the laboratory, the cost to gather the data would be well over $350,000. The data reveal several interesting insights; perhaps most provocatively, they suggest that even though the game is played in front of an audience of millions of viewers, there is some evidence consistent with a model of discrimination. The observed patterns of social discrimination are unanticipated, however. For example, there is evidence consistent with the notion that certain populations have a general “distaste” for older participants.
Published: List, John A. "Friend Or Foe? A Natural Experiment Of The Prisoner's Dilemma," Review of Economics and Statistics, 2006, v88(3,Aug), 463-471.
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