Public Choice

, Volume 86, Issue 1–2, pp 117–135 | Cite as

Experiencing impartiality to invoke fairness in the n-PD: Some experimental results

  • Norman Frohlich
  • Joe A. Oppenheimer


Subjects play a 5-person Prisoner's Dilemma both from an impartial point of view and in a regular fashion to determine whether 1) Concerns for fairness increase cooperative behavior; 2) Play of a Prisoner's Dilemma from an impartial point of view results in significantly higher levels of cooperation than does normal play; 3) Concern for fairness has greater explanatory force in explaining cooperation in impartial plays of the Prisoner's Dilemma than in normal plays; and 4) Experience with impartial play of a Prisoner's Dilemma sensitizes subjects to normative imperatives and results in higher levels of cooperation in subsequent normal plays of Prisoner's Dilemmas. The first and second hypotheses are supported, the third is inverted, and the fourth is not supported. Concern for fairness is demonstrated to play a complex role in explaining cooperative behavior in regular plays of the game.

An earlier version was presented at the Annual meetings of the Public Choice Society, 1993 Monteleone Hotel, New Orleans; 20 March 1993.


Public Finance Public Choice Annual Meeting Cooperative Behavior Complex Role 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman Frohlich
    • 1
  • Joe A. Oppenheimer
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Business AdministrationUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Department of Government and PoliticsUniversity of Maryland at College ParkCollege ParkU.S.A.

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