A Classification of Games by Player Type

Gary Bornstein

In this paper I classify situations of interdependent decision-making, or games based on the type of decision-makers, or players involved. The classification builds on a distinction between three basic types of decision-making agents: individuals, cooperative or unitary groups -- groups whose members can reach a binding (and costless) agreement on a joint strategy -- and non-cooperative groups -- groups whose members act independently without being able to make a binding agreement. Pitting individuals, unitary groups, and non-cooperative groups against one another, and adding Nature as a potential “opponent”, generates a 3 (type of agent) X 4 (type of opponent) matrix of social situations. This framework is used to review the experimental decision-making literature and point out the gaps that still exist in it.

January, 2007
Published in: 
New issues and paradigms in research on social dilemmas, A. Biel, D. Eek, T. Gärling, & M. Gustafsson (Eds.), Springer Verlag, (in press)