Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Prisoner’s Dilemma

  • Wolfgang BuchholzEmail author
  • Michael Eichenseer
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_557


The Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) is probably the most famous two-person game in which a fundamental divergence between individual and collective rationalities arises: If the agents play noncooperatively, an equilibrium is achieved which, however, does not constitute the best available solution. Such a PD situation characterizes many situations of voluntary cooperation, e.g., the provision of the global public good climate protection. But in reality agents are – despite the predictions of the PD game – often willing to cooperate voluntarily to some degree which has been confirmed by experimental economics. Furthermore there are a lot of institutional devices which help overcome the cooperation dilemma in a PD situation.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of RegensburgRegensburgGermany