Pedro Dal Bó and Guillaume R. Fréchette
A growing experimental literature studies the determinants of cooperation in infinitely repeated games, tests different predictions of the theory, and suggests an empirical solution to the problem of multiple equilibria. To provide a robust description of the literature’s findings, we gather and analyze a metadata set of experiments on infinitely repeated prisoner’s dilemma games. The experimental data show that cooperation is affected by infinite repetition and is more likely to arise when it can be supported in equilibrium. However, the fact that cooperation can be supported in equilibrium does not imply that most subjects will cooperate. High cooperation rates will emerge only when the parameters of the repeated game are such that cooperation is very robust to strategic uncertainty. We also review the results regarding the effect of imperfect monitoring, changing partners, and personal characteristics on cooperation and the strategies used to support it.
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