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24 J. Conflict Resol. 3 (1980)

handle is hein.journals/jcfltr24 and id is 1 raw text is: 







Effective Choice in

the Prisoner's Dilemma



ROBERT AXELROD
Institute of Public Policy Studies
University of Michigan



   This is a primer on how to play the iterated Prisoner's Dilemma game effectively.
Existing research approaches offer the participant limited help in understanding how to
cope effectively with such interactiqns. To gain a deeper understanding of how to be
effective in such a partially competitive and partially cooperative environment, a computer
tournament was conducted for the iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. Decision rules were
submitted by entrants who were recruited primarily from experts in game theory from
a variety of disciplines: psychology, political science, economics, sociology, and mathema-
tics. The results of the tournament demonstrate that there are subtle reasons for an in-
dividualistic pragmatist to cooperate as long as the other side does, to be somewhat for-
giving, and to be optimistic about the other side's responsiveness.




                           INTRODUCTION

ITERATED PRISONER'S DILEMMA

   This  article is a primer  on how   to play the  Prisoner's Dilemma
game   effectively.
   International  politics is just one of the arenas which offer numerous
occasions   of the Prisoner's  Dilemma iterated for many moves. For
example,   between   the United   States and  the Soviet  Union  there  are
aspects  of the Prisoner's Dilemma   in such sequences  of events as arma-



    AUTHOR'S   NOTE:  I would like to thank those who made this project possible, the
 participants whose names and affiliations are given in the Appendix. I would also like to
 thank Jeff Pynnonen, my research assistant, for helping to prepare the executive program
 for the tournament. And for their helpful suggestions concerning the design and analysis
 of the tournament, I would like to thank John Chamberlin, Michael Cohen, and Serge
 Taylor. For its support of this research, I owe thanks to the Institute of Public Policy
 Studies of the University of Michigan.

 JOURNAL  OF CONFLICT  RESOLUTION,  Vol. 24 No. 1, March 1980 3-25
 @ 1980 Sage Publications, Inc.
                                                                          3

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