Journal of Risk and Uncertainty

, 39:251

Group cooperation under uncertainty


DOI: 10.1007/s11166-009-9080-2

Cite this article as:
Gong, M., Baron, J. & Kunreuther, H. J Risk Uncertain (2009) 39: 251. doi:10.1007/s11166-009-9080-2


Previous research has shown an ‘interindividual-intergroup discontinuity effect’: intergroup interactions generally lead to less cooperative outcomes than interindividual interactions. We replicate the discontinuity effect in the deterministic prisoner’s dilemma, but find that groups are more cooperative than individuals in a stochastic version of the game. Three major factors that underlie the usual discontinuity effect are reduced in the stochastic environment: greed, fear, and persuasion power. Two group mechanisms are proposed to explain the reversed discontinuity effect: the motivation to avoid guilt and blame when making decisions that affect others’ welfare, and the social pressure to conform to certain norms when one is in a group setting.


Group decision Uncertainty Cooperation Experimental economics 

JEL Classification


Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Research on Environmental DecisionsColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Decisions Sciences and Public Policy, Wharton SchoolUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations