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Revealed reputations in the finitely-repeated prisoners’ dilemma

Cox, C.A.; Jones, M.T.; Pflum, K.E.; Healy, P.J.

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C.A. Cox

M.T. Jones

K.E. Pflum

P.J. Healy


In a sequential-move, finitely repeated prisoners’ dilemma game (FRPD), cooperation can be sustained if the first-mover believes her opponent might be a behavioral type who plays a tit-for-tat strategy in every period. We test this theory by revealing second-mover histories from an earlier FRPD experiment to their current opponent. Despite eliminating the possibility of reputation-building, aggregate cooperation actually increases when histories are revealed. Cooperative histories lead to increased trust, but negative histories do not cause decreased trust. We develop a behavioral model to explain these findings.


Cox, C., Jones, M., Pflum, K., & Healy, P. (2015). Revealed reputations in the finitely-repeated prisoners’ dilemma. Economic Theory, 58(3), 441-484.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 27, 2015
Online Publication Date Feb 14, 2015
Publication Date Apr 1, 2015
Deposit Date Jan 24, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 3, 2015
Journal Economic Theory
Print ISSN 0938-2259
Electronic ISSN 1432-0479
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 58
Issue 3
Pages 441-484
Keywords Prisoners’ dilemma, Finitely-repeated games, Cooperation, Reputation-building.
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (963 Kb)

Copyright Statement
The final publication is available at Springer via

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