Peer to Peer Piracy: Sustained Cooperation in a Public Good Game

Seung-Keun Martinez : Economics

Mentor: Professor John Morgan

Modern day pirates are among the most seemingly altruistic collaborators in the world. At least they are in reference to sustaining a public good. In fact, these internet based pirates provide a stunning real world example of a self-sustaining public good despite strong incentives to free ride. We observe this phenomenon in peer to peer (P2P) file sharing. The crux of Seung-Keun’s research project centers upon the question: How do P2P networks form and sustain themselves, and how can this be extended to influence better outcomes for other public goods? To answer this, Seung-Keun has designed a three-treatment strategic experiment involving continuous time, varying levels of information, and endogenous entry and exit. The results of this experiment will give new insight into what policies would encourage cooperation.