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Infinity in the lab. How do people play repeated games?


We introduce a novel mechanism to eliminate endgame effects in repeated prisoner’s dilemma experiments. In the main phase of a supergame our mechanism generates more persistent cooperation than finite horizon or random continuation rules. Moreover, we find evidence for cooperation-enhancing “active/reactive” strategies which concentrate in the initial phase of a supergame as subjects gain experience.

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Correspondence to Lisa Bruttel.

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Bruttel, L., Kamecke, U. Infinity in the lab. How do people play repeated games?. Theory Decis 72, 205–219 (2012).

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  • Prisoner’s dilemma
  • Infinite horizon
  • Experiment
  • Continuation rule

JEL Classification

  • C91
  • D80