The Double-Defection Strategy
By Peter Clark
Anyone even vaguely acquainted with Game theory is familiar with the difference between cooperative and uncooperative strategies. While we have clear qualitative delineations between cooperation and non-compliant strategies, what differentiates players from nonparticipants in a game? Any administrator, judge, referee, or rule promulgator could arguably be a player in a game. Typically, these authoritative actors do not operate neutrally and have their incentives structure for their strategies for enforcing or creating rules. The actions of these high-status players have a profound impact on the potential outcomes of the game.
If an administrator can be a player, lower-status players choose to deploy uncooperative strategies against both the administrator and unprivileged players and the administrator. Any uncooperative strategy used against both regular player(s) and an administrator is an example of a Double-Defection Strategy. A mundane example would be in a household where a parent selects a favorite child. The unfavorable child could choose a behavioral strategy that defects concurrently from the parent-sanctioned rules and peacefully co-existing with their sibling. Therefore, creating conditions under which the child’s behavioral strategy defects from the administrator and the ordinary player.