The prisoner’s dilemma and economics 101: Do active learning exercises correlate with student performance?

Chong Hyun Christie Byun


The importance of active learning in the classroom has been well established in the field of Economic education. This paper examines the connection between active learning and performance outcomes in an Economics 101 course. Students participated in single play simultaneous move game with a clear dominant strategy, modeled after the Prisoner’s Dilemma. The hypothesis is that if a student understands the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the relevant assumptions in Economic theory, he will choose the dominant strategy in the game. But will his choice be correlated with his performance on two important metrics? Empirical evidence indicates that there is a correlation between a student’s performance on the Prisoner’s Dilemma game and his performance on the subsequent in-class exam and in the course overall.



Active Learning; Game Theory; Prisoner's Dilemma

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