Faculty Scholarship 1994 - Present

Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma (Reflections on the Evolution of Cooperation)

Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma has been used to analyze the wisdom of cooperation versus aggression in a wide variety of contexts. We examine the Prisoner's Dilemma research of Robert Axelrod and place this resrearch in the contexrt of Hobbesian controversies in economic and political theory. We examine the reserach findinds of Axelrod concerneing the success of TIT FOR TAT (the strategy of starting with cooperatrion, and thereafter doing what the other player did on the previous move) in iterated Prisoner's Dilemma contexts. Axelrod argues that TIT FOR TAAT succeeds because of its combination of being nice, retaliatory, forgiving, and clear. We propose future research using Axelrod's conclusions by examining (1)how Hobbes' ideas of constant warfare were transformed by Smith into ideas of cooperation and prosperity and (2)reasons why business organizations are showing increasing interest in business alliances and inter-company alliances.