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International Journal of Game Theory

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 75–85 | Cite as

Cooperation in an asymmetric Volunteer's dilemma game theory and experimental evidence

  • Andreas Diekmann
Article

Abstract

The symmetric Volunteer's dilemma game (VOD) models a situation in which each ofN actors faces the decision of either producing a step-level collective good (action “C”) or freeriding (“D”). One player's cooperative action suffices for producing the collective good. Unilateral cooperation yields a payoffU forD-players andU-K for the cooperative player(s). However, if all actors decide for “freeriding”, each player's payoff is zero (U>K>0). In this article, an essential modification is discussed. In an asymmetric VOD, the interest in the collective good and/or, the production costs (i.e. U or K) may vary between actors. The generalized asymmetric VOD is similar to market entry games. Alternative hypotheses about the behaviour of subjects are derived from a game-theoretical analysis. They are investigated in an experimental setting. The application of the mixed Nash-equilibrium concept yields a rather counter-intuitive prediction which apparently contradicts the empirical data. The predictions of the Harsanyi-Selten-theory and Schelling's “focal point theory” are in better accordance with the data. However, they do not account for the “diffusion-of-responsibility-effect” also observable in the context of an asymmetric VOD game.

Keywords

Production Cost Empirical Data Game Theory Experimental Setting Alternative Hypothesis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Physica-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Diekmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of SociologyUniversity of BerneBerne 9Switzerland

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