Economic Definition of prisoners' dilemma. Defined.
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Term prisoners' dilemma Definition: An application of game theory analysis in which two prisoners both confess to a crime to avoid harsher punishment when not confessing would avoid any punishment. The dilemma emerges because both prisoners are faced with the same choice -- confess or not confess -- but the outcome their choice depends on the choice made by the other prisoner. Unfortunately neither prisoner knows the choice of the other. If neither confesses, then they receive no punishment. If both confess, then they receive limited punishment, such as a year in jail. However, if one confesses and the other doesn't, the confessor receives light punishment, such as six months in jail, and the non confessor receives more severe punishment, such as five years in jail. The result is that both prisoners confess.