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The folk theorem for repeated games with observation costs

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  • Miyagawa, Eiichi
  • Miyahara, Yasuyuki
  • Sekiguchi, Tadashi

Abstract

The folk theorem literature has been relaxing the assumption on how much players know about each other's past action. Here we consider a general model where players can "buy" precise information. Every period, each player decides whether to pay a cost to accurately observe the actions chosen by other players in the previous period. When a player does not pay the cost, he obtains only imperfect private signals. Observational decisions are unobservable to others. Known strategies such as trigger strategies do not work since they fail to motivate players to pay for information. This paper shows that the folk theorem holds for any level of observation costs. Unlike existing folk theorems with private monitoring, ours imposes virtually no restriction on the nature of costless imperfect signals. The theorem does not use explicit or costless communication, thereby having implications on antitrust laws that rely on evidence of explicit communication. The main message is that accurate observation alone, however costly, enables efficient cooperation in general repeated games.

Suggested Citation

  • Miyagawa, Eiichi & Miyahara, Yasuyuki & Sekiguchi, Tadashi, 2008. "The folk theorem for repeated games with observation costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 192-221, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:139:y:2008:i:1:p:192-221
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Heller, Yuval, 2017. "Instability of belief-free equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 261-286.
    2. Awaya, Yu, 2014. "Community enforcement with observation costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 173-186.
    3. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:320-330 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:kbb:dpaper:2011-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Flesch, János & Perea, Andrés, 2009. "Repeated games with voluntary information purchase," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 126-145, May.
    6. repec:pra:mprapa:64485 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. McLean, Richard & Obara, Ichiro & Postlewaite, Andrew, 2014. "Robustness of public equilibria in repeated games with private monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 191-212.
    8. Flesch János & Perea Andrés, 2007. "Repeated Games with Voluntary Information Purchase," Research Memorandum 057, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    9. Miklós-Thal, Jeanine & Schumacher, Heiner, 2013. "The value of recommendations," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 132-147.
    10. Miyahara, Yasuyuki & Sekiguchi, Tadashi, 2013. "Finitely repeated games with monitoring options," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(5), pages 1929-1952.
    11. Fujiwara-Greve, Takako & Okuno-Fujiwara, Masahiro & Suzuki, Nobue, 2012. "Voluntarily separable repeated Prisonerʼs Dilemma with reference letters," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 504-516.
    12. Yamamoto, Yuichi, 2012. "Characterizing belief-free review-strategy equilibrium payoffs under conditional independence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(5), pages 1998-2027.
    13. Heller, Yuval, 2015. "Instability of Equilibria with Imperfect Private Monitoring," MPRA Paper 64468, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General

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