The Fisherman's Problem: Exploring the tension between cooperative and non-cooperative concepts in a simple game

Klaus Abbink, Ron Darziv, Zohar Gilula, Harel Goren, Bernd Irlenbusch, Arnon Keren, Bettina Rockenbach, Abdolkarim Sadrieh, Reinhard Selten & Shmuel Zamir

We introduce and experiment the Fisherman’s Game in which the application of economic theory leads to four different benchmarks. Non-cooperative sequential rationality predicts one extreme outcome while the core (which coincides with the competitive market equilibrium) predicts the other extreme. Intermediate, disjoint outcomes are predicted by fairness utility models and the Shapley value. Non of the four benchmarks fully explains the observed behavior. However, since elements of both cooperative and non-cooperative game theory are crucial for organizing our data, we conclude that effort towards bridging the gap between the various concepts is a promising approach for future economic research.

February, 2001
Published in: 
Journal of Economic Psychology 24 (2003), 425-445