Cycles of strategies and changes of distribution in public goods game: An experimental investigation




Bin Xu

School of public administration, Zhejiang Gongshang University

Experimental Social Science Laboratory, Zhejiang University




With an ˇ°exitˇ± option, we investigate the dynamic pattern in laboratory public goods games. Using two experimental settings, we demonstrate that the strategies of cooperation, defection and exit form ˇ°Rock-Paper-Scissors-likeˇ± cycles. Meanwhile, the distribution of social states changes in the state space and, from cooperation as the majority strategy to defection and from defection to exit, forms a clear rotation path in long run. The rotation path of state distribution seems to be ending at the exit strategy, fewer remaining in the cycles. The range of cycles becomes smaller as the exit strategy is more frequently used, but the cycles become clearer as time pass and are persistent over 200 rounds. It is the first time that the empirical cycles of strategies and changes of distribution in public goods game in laboratory are explicitly shown in the full strategy space.


Keywords: public goods game; Rock-Paper-Scissors; evolution of cooperation; cyclic strategy; evolution of distribution; experimental economics; full strategy space;


JEL: C92 C90