, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 335–338 | Cite as

Social Interactions and The Prisoner's Dilemma

Martin Peterson (ed.): The Prisoner’s Dilemma. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, 306pp, $110 (Hardback)
  • Cédric PaternotteEmail author
Book Review

About 65 years ago, in order to test whether Nash’s new concept of equilibrium matched observed behaviour, Merrill Flood and Melvin Dresher devised a two-player, two-action game and had two friends play it repeatedly. When the mathematician Albert Tucker coined “Prisoner’s Dilemma” a simplified version of this game and introduced it with an accompanying backstory, little did he know that it would end up enjoying an enormous amount of attention and become possibly the most influential, and most cited, model of social interaction ever. To present it briefly, a Prisoner’s dilemma is a strategic situation in which two players have to choose one of the two actions C and D, such that: whatever the other chooses, one’s pay-off is strictly higher if she chooses D (D dominates C), but both players’ pay-offs are strictly higher if both choose C than if both choose D (CC Pareto-dominatesDD). It is usually understood as a situation in which individual and collective rationality collide, because...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université Paris-SorbonneParisFrance

Personalised recommendations