This program sets up a multi-person game in which each
person chooses whether or not to "volunteer." The payoff for all people in a
group is higher if at least one of them volunteers, but it only takes
one volunteer for the group benefit to be obtained. Moreover, a volunteer incurs
a cost that cannot be shared. The incentives are such that a person who
is only motivated by their own payoffs would
only want to volunteer if it is likely that nobody else will do so.
This is a classic social dilemma game that can evoke lots
of class discussion about diffusion of responsibility, strategy, etc.
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The probability of volunteering should be
a decreasing function of group size, as implied by simple intuition and
from the mixed-strategy Nash equilibrium prediction.
This game is the topic of Chapter 15 in Holt (2006) Markets, Games, and
Vecon Lab - July 30, 2014