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Naive learning and cooperation in network experiments

Oliver Kirchkamp and Rosemarie Nagel

Games and Economic Behavior, Vol. 58/2 (2007), pp. 269-292.


In this paper we study learning and cooperation in repeated prisoners' dilemmas experiments. We compare interaction neighbourhoods of different size and structure, we observe choices under different information conditions, and we estimate parameters of a learning model.

We find that naive imitation, although a driving force in many models of spatial evolution, may be negligible in the experiment. Naive imitation predicts more cooperation in spatial structures than in spaceless ones-regardless whether interaction neighbourhoods have the same or different sizes in both structures. We find that with some interaction neighbourhoods even the opposite may hold. %

JEL-Classification: C72, C92, D74, D83, H41, R12

Keywords: Imitation, learning, local interaction, heterogeneity of environment, experiments, prisoners' dilemma.

You can download the paper as a PDF file.

Earlier versions of this paper have been circulated under the title “Learning and cooperation in network experiments”.

All individual choices are shown in Appendix B (Raw data) of the paper. For your convenience we also provide an electronic version in Rdata format.