Economic Theory

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 441–484 | Cite as

Revealed reputations in the finitely repeated prisoners’ dilemma

  • Caleb A. Cox
  • Matthew T. Jones
  • Kevin E. Pflum
  • Paul J. Healy
Research Article


In a sequential-move, finitely repeated prisoners’ dilemma game (FRPD), cooperation can be sustained if the first-mover believes her opponent might be a behavioral type who plays a tit-for-tat strategy in every period. We test this theory by revealing second-mover histories from an earlier FRPD experiment to their current opponent. Despite eliminating the possibility of reputation-building, aggregate cooperation actually increases when histories are revealed. Cooperative histories lead to increased trust, but negative histories do not cause decreased trust. We develop a behavioral model to explain these findings.


Prisoners’ dilemma Finitely repeated games Cooperation  Reputation-building 

JEL Classification

C70 C73 C92 

Supplementary material

199_2015_863_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (451 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 450 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caleb A. Cox
    • 1
  • Matthew T. Jones
    • 2
  • Kevin E. Pflum
    • 3
  • Paul J. Healy
    • 4
  1. 1.Durham University Business SchoolDurhamUK
  2. 2.Federal Trade CommissionWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  4. 4.The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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