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When are Agents Negligible?

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  • Wolfgang Pesendorfer
  • David Levine

Abstract

We examine the following paradox: In a dynamic setting, an arbitrarily large finite number of agents adn a continuum of agents can lead to radically different equilibrium outcomes. We show that in a simple strategic setting this paradox is a general phenomenon. We also show that the paradox disappears when there is noisy observation of the players' actions: The aggregate level of noise must disappear as the number of players increases, but not too rapidly. We give several economic examples in which this paradox has recently received attention: the durable goods monopoly, corporate takeovers, and time consistency of optimal governmetn policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1018.

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Date of creation: Nov 1992
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1018

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Web page: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/
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  1. Bagwell, Kyle, 1995. "Commitment and observability in games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 271-280.
  2. V. V. Chari & Patrick J Kehoe, 1998. "Sustainable Plans," Levine's Working Paper Archive 600, David K. Levine.
  3. Celentani, Marco & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "Reputation in Dynamic Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 109-132, July.
  4. Nabil Al-Najjar, 1992. "The Coase Conjecture in Markets with a Finite Number of Consumers," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 9211, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
  5. Bagnoli, Mark & Salant, Stephen W & Swierzbinski, Joseph E, 1989. "Durable-Goods Monopoly with Discrete Demand," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1459-78, December.
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