In the one-off prisoner’s dilemma game, the two players face only one problem: that of enforcing an agreement that they would both like to make. If some external mechanism for enforcing agreements is made available to the players, the game becomes trivial. There is no way in which either player can sensibly try to hold out for anything better than an agreement of mutual co-operation. The only threat a player has is to refuse to co-operate; but if one player refuses to co-operate it will be in the other player’s interest to defect, and then the outcome will be worse for both players than if they had agreed to co-operate. To put this another way, neither player can have any expectation of a free ride: there is no possibility that a player will be able to defect while his opponent co-operates.


Public Good Stable Equilibrium Free Ride Good Move Good Standing 
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Copyright information

© Robert Sugden 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Sugden
    • 1
  1. 1.University of East AngliaUK

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