Benevolent Cooperation

In a prisoner’s dilemma, states prefer acting conflictual even if they know that the other will act cooperatively. What happens if states want to cooperate if and only if the other state will cooperate?

Takeaway Points

  1. If players have friendly preferences, they can achieve mutual cooperation.
  2. However, mutual conflict is also sustainable. This is because if one state believes the other will be uncooperative, it wants to be uncooperative as well. But this justifies the second state’s initial uncooperative stance.
  3. Coordination games are interactions that have multiple sustainable outcomes.
  4. The goal of many international organizations is to shift state behavior from uncooperative outcomes to cooperative outcomes.