A prisoner's dilemma classroom activity (external case study)

José Vásquez, University of Illinois
Originally published on YouTube November 2016

Students in a Principles of Economics class are given a choice to Collude or Defect. But, there is a twist.

  • If everyone chooses collude, all students get 10 bonus points in the final exam.
  • If everyone chooses collude, but one student defects, that person gets 50 bonus points in the final exam, and no other student gets any points.
  • If more than 1 person chooses to defect, no student receives any bonus points.
  • And these are REAL bonus points, not pretend.
  • There are about 550 students in class, and all of them vote with iClickers (automated response systems)

Watch the video to see what happens.

Here are the slides used in the activity.