Social dilemmas form the core of many societal problems ranging from the international level (e.g. the fight against climate change) to interpersonal relations (e.g. work on a joint student project). In such situations, conflict arises frequently because individual and collective interests collide. In a typical social dilemma, mutual cooperation among all involved actors leads to an efficient collective outcome. However, all actors have an incentive to defect and free-ride on the other actors’ cooperation. Thus, if all actors follow their narrow self-interest, the community will not be able to reach their common goal.
In this seminar, we will identify and discuss factors influencing the level of cooperation among actors in a large variety of different social dilemma situations. In doing so, we will take an interdisciplinary approach encompassing theories and methods from political science, sociology, economics, and social psychology.