The isomorphism hypothesis: the prisoner's dilemma as intertemporal allocation, and vice versa

Elias L. Khalil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Economists model the choice of the current self in intertemporal allocation as the outcome of identity: the current and future selves belong to the same decision maker by the sheer fact they reside in the same “biological skin” defined by biological identity. The economists should be consistent and likewise model the choice of each player in the prisoner's dilemma or, generally, the social dilemma as the outcome of identity: the selves of the players belong to the same decision maker by the sheer fact they reside in the same “social skin” defined by social identity. If the economists consider cooperation rather than defection to be the rational strategy of the current self in intertemporal allocations, they should be consistent and consider cooperation rather than defection to be the rational strategy of each player in social dilemmas. Symmetrically, if the economists judge defection rather than cooperation to be the rational strategy in social dilemmas, it behooves them to also judge defection rather than cooperation to be the rational strategy in intertemporal allocations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-746
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Volume176
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Altruism
  • Care
  • Cooperation
  • Defection
  • Grant (charity)
  • Nash equilibrium

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