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One Size and Structure of Group Cooperation

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Abstract

This paper examines characteristics of cooperative behavior in a repeated, n-person, continuous action generalization of a Prisoner's Dilemma game. When time preferences are heterogeneous and bounded away from one, how "much" cooperation can be achieved by an ongoing group? How does group cooperation vary with the group's size and structure? For an arbitrary distribution of discount factors, we characterize the maximal average cooperation (MAC) likelihood of this game. The MAC likelihood is the highest average level of cooperation, over all stationary subgame perfect equilibrium paths, that the group can achieve. The MAC likelihood is shown to be increasing in monotone shifts, and decreasing in mean preserving spreads, of the distribution of discount factors. The latter suggests that more heterogeneous groups are less cooperative on average. Finally, we establish weak conditions under which the MAC likelihood exhibits increasing returns to scale when discounting is heterogeneous. That is, larger groups are more cooperative, on average, than smaller ones. By contrast, when the group has a common discount factor, the MAC likelihood is invariant to group size.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~02-02-05.

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Date of creation: 05 Feb 2002
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~02-02-05

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Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
Phone: 202-687-6074
Fax: 202-687-6102
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Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/

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Postal: Marcia Suss Administrative Officer Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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Web: http://econ.georgetown.edu/

Related research

Keywords: Repeated games; maximal average cooperation likelihood; heterogeneous discount factors; returns to scale;

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References

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  1. Harrington, Joseph Jr., 1989. "Collusion among asymmetric firms: The case of different discount factors," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 289-307, June.
  2. Drew Fudenberg & David Levine, 1987. "Reputation and Equilibrium Selection in Games With a Patient Player," Working papers 461, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Matthew Haag & Roger Lagunoff, 2006. "Social Norms, Local Interaction, And Neighborhood Planning ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 265-296, 02.
  4. Fudenberg, Drew & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Folk Theorem in Repeated Games with Discounting or with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 533-54, May.
  5. Maskin, Eric & Kreps, David & Fudenberg, Drew, 1990. "Repeated Games with Long-run and Short-run Players," Scholarly Articles 3226950, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Matthew Haag & Roger Lagunoff, 2003. "On the Size and Structure of Group Cooperation," Working Papers 2003.54, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  7. Pecorino, Paul, 1999. "The effect of group size on public good provision in a repeated game setting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 121-134, April.
  8. Ehud Lehrer & Ady Pauzner, 1999. "Repeated Games with Differential Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 393-412, March.
  9. George J. Mailath & Ichiro Obara & Tadashi Sekiguchi, . "The Maximum Efficient Equilibrium Payoff in the Repeated Prisoners' Dilemma," Penn CARESS Working Papers 83719e84b6825736ffcfdfacb, Penn Economics Department.
  10. Aoyagi, Masaki, 1996. "Reputation and Dynamic Stackelberg Leadership in Infinitely Repeated Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 378-393, November.
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