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When Are Agents Negligible?

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  • Levine, David K
  • Pesendorfer, Wolfgang

Abstract

The authors examine the following paradox: in a dynamic setting, equilibria can be radically different in a model with a finite number of agents than in a model with a continuum of agents. They present a simple strategic setting in which this paradox is a general phenomenon. However, the paradox disappears when there is noisy observation of the players' actions and the aggregate level of noise does not disappear too rapidly as the number of players increases. The authors give several economic examples in which this paradox has recently received attention: durable-goods monopoly, corporate takeovers, and time consistency of optimal government policy. Copyright 1995 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Levine, David K & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1995. "When Are Agents Negligible?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1160-1170, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:85:y:1995:i:5:p:1160-70
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Celentani, Marco & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "Reputation in Dynamic Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 109-132, July.
    2. Bagwell, Kyle, 1995. "Commitment and observability in games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 271-280.
    3. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1990. "Sustainable Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 783-802, August.
    4. 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 1459-1478, December.
    5. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Drew Fudenberg & David Levine & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2008. "When Are Nonanonymous Players Negligible?," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: A Long-Run Collaboration On Long-Run Games, chapter 6, pages 95-120 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    2. Giancarlo Corsetti & Amil Dasgupta & Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2004. "Does One Soros Make a Difference? A Theory of Currency Crises with Large and Small Traders," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 87-113.
    3. Hamilton, Jonathan & Slutsky, Steven, 2004. "Nonlinear price discrimination with a finite number of consumers and constrained recontracting," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 737-757, June.
    4. Marco Bassetto & Christopher Phelan, 2008. "Tax Riots," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 649-669.
    5. R. Preston Mcafee & Thomas Wiseman, 2008. "Capacity Choice Counters the Coase Conjecture," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 317-331.
    6. Ilya Segal, 1998. "Contracting with Externalities," Public Economics 9802002, EconWPA.
    7. Gabriele Camera & Marco Casari, 2009. "Cooperation among Strangers under the Shadow of the Future," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 979-1005, June.
    8. Marco Bassetto, 2002. "A Game-Theoretic View of the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2167-2195, November.
    9. Frederico Finan & Laura Schechter, 2012. "Vote‐Buying and Reciprocity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(2), pages 863-881, March.
    10. Barlo, Mehmet & Carmona, Guilherme, 2015. "Strategic behavior in non-atomic games," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 134-144.
    11. D. Aliprantis, C. & Camera, G. & Puzzello, D., 2007. "Anonymous markets and monetary trading," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 1905-1928, October.
    12. Robert Zeithammer, 2007. "—Optimal Selling in Dynamic Auctions: Adaptation Versus Commitment," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(6), pages 859-867, 11-12.
    13. Cellini, Roberto & Lambertini, Luca, 2007. "Time consistent fiscal policies in a Ramsey economy," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 296-313, May.
    14. Robert Zeithammer, 2009. "Commitment in sequential auctioning: advance listings and threshold prices," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 38(1), pages 187-216, January.
    15. Weintraub, Gabriel Y. & Benkard, C. Lanier & Van Roy, Benjamin, 2007. "Markov Perfect Industry Dynamics with Many Firms," Research Papers 1919r, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    16. Gabriele Camera & Marco Casari, 2007. "Cooperation among strangers: an experiment with indefinite interaction," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1201, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
    17. Karatzas, Ioannis & Shubik, Martin & Sudderth, William D., 1997. "A strategic market game with secured lending," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 207-247, September.
    18. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Cooperatives vs. Outside Ownership," NBER Working Papers 6421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Araujo, Luis & Camargo, Braz & Minetti, Raoul & Puzzello, Daniela, 2012. "The essentiality of money in environments with centralized trade," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 612-621.
    20. Hamilton, Jonathan & Slutsky, Steven, 2017. "Judicial review and the power of the executive and legislative branches," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 67-85.
    21. Bilancini, Ennio & Boncinelli, Leonardo, 2016. "Dynamic adverse selection and the supply size," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 233-242.
    22. Michael Waldman, 2004. "Antitrust Perspectives for Durable-Goods Markets," CESifo Working Paper Series 1306, CESifo Group Munich.
    23. Hamid Sabourian, 2000. "Bargaining and Markets: Complexity and the Walrasian Outcome," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1249, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.

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