Game Harmony as a Predictor of Cooperation in 2 x 2 Games

Sep 2002 | 117

Authors: Daniel John Zizzo, Jonathan H.W. Tan

This paper presents an experimental test of the relationship between game harmony and cooperation in 2 x 2 games. Game harmony measures describe how harmonious (non-conflictual) or disharmonious (conflictual) the interests of players are, as embodied in the payoffs: coordination games and constant-sum games are examples of games of perfect harmony and disharmony, respectively, with most games being somewhere in the middle. In our experiment we consider a variety of 2 x 2 games, including amongst others the Prisoner`s Dilemma, the Stag-Hunt, the Chicken, a coordination game and three variants of trust games. We find that simple game harmony measures can explain 2/3 (or more) or the variance in mean cooperation rate across these games.

JEL Codes: C72, C91, H41

Keywords: game harmony, cooperation, 2 x 2 games, trust games, social dilemmas.

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