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Social Norms, Local Interaction, And Neighborhood Planning


  • Matthew Haag
  • Roger Lagunoff


This article examines optimal social linkage when each individual's repeated interaction with each of his neighbors creates spillovers. Each individual's discount factor is randomly determined. A planner chooses a local interaction network or "neighborhood design" before the discount factors are realized. Each individual then plays a repeated Prisoner's Dilemma game with his neighbors. A "local trigger strategy equilibrium (LTSE)" describes an equilibrium in which each individual conditions his cooperation on the cooperation of at least one "acceptable" group of neighbors. Our main results demonstrate a basic trade-off in the design problem between suboptimal punishment and social conflict. Potentially suboptimal punishment arises in designs with local interactions since in this case monitoring is imperfect. Owing to the heterogeneity of discount factors, however, greater social conflict may arise in more connected networks. When individuals' discount factors are known to the planner, the optimal design exhibits a cooperative "core" and an uncooperative "fringe.""Uncooperative" (impatient) types are connected to cooperative ones who tolerate their free riding so that social conflict is kept to a minimum. By contrast, when the planner knows only the ex ante distribution over individual discount factors, then in some cases the optimal design partitions individuals into maximally connected "cliques" (e.g., cul-de-sacs), whereas in other cases incomplete graphs with small overlap (e.g., grids) are possible. Copyright 2006 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • 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, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:47:y:2006:i:1:p:265-296

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1997. "Regionalism and Multilateral Tariff Cooperation," NBER Working Papers 5921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Feinberg, Yossi & Kets, Willemien, 2014. "Ranking friends," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 1-9.
    2. Lippert, Steffen & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2011. "Networks of relations and Word-of-Mouth Communication," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 202-217, May.
    3. Antoine Billot, 2009. "How to shake the invisible hand (when Robinson meets Friday)," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 5(3), pages 257-270.
    4. Haag, Matthew & Lagunoff, Roger, 2007. "On the size and structure of group cooperation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 68-89, July.
    5. Sanjeev Goyal & Fernando Vega-Redondo, 2000. "Learning, Network Formation and Coordination," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0113, Econometric Society.
    6. Jackson, Matthew O. & Zenou, Yves, 2015. "Games on Networks," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, Elsevier.
    7. Luca Dall’Asta & Paolo Pin & Abolfazl Ramezanpour, 2011. "Optimal Equilibria of the Best Shot Game," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(6), pages 885-901, December.
    8. Miguel A. Meléndez-Jiménez, 2007. "A Bargaining Approach To Coordination In Networks," Working Papers. Serie AD 2007-28, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    9. Georg Duernecker & Fernando Vega-Redondo, 2012. "Social Networks and the Process of "Globalization"," Economics Working Papers ECO2012/25, European University Institute.
    10. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 2003. "Building Up Social Capital in a Changing World: A Network Approach," Working Papers 2003.53, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    11. Vega-Redondo, Fernando, 2006. "Building up social capital in a changing world," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2305-2338, November.
    12. Yannis Ioannides, 2006. "Topologies of social interactions," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 28(3), pages 559-584, August.
    13. Roger Lagunoff & Matthew Haag, 2002. "One Size and Structure of Group Cooperation," Working Papers gueconwpa~02-02-05, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    14. Dai, Darong, 2012. "On the Existence of Pareto Optimal Endogenous Matching," MPRA Paper 43125, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Oded Stark & Doris Behrens, 2010. "An evolutionary edge of knowing less (or: On the ‘curse’ of global information)," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 77-94, January.
    16. Nava, Francesco & Piccione, Michele, 2012. "Efficiency in repeated games with local interaction and uncertain local monitoring," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 54250, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    17. Spagnolo, Giancarlo & Lippert, Steffen, 2004. "Networks of Relations," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 570, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 04 Jun 2010.
    18. Lanny Arvan & David Nickerson, 2006. "Private Investment, Public Aid and Endogenous Divergence in the Evolution of Urban Neighborhoods," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 83-100, February.
    19. Goyal, S., 2016. "Networks and Markets," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1652, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    20. Kirman, Alan & Markose, Sheri & Giansante, Simone & Pin, Paolo, 2007. "Marginal contribution, reciprocity and equity in segregated groups: Bounded rationality and self-organization in social networks," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 2085-2107, June.
    21. Goyal, Sanjeev, 2003. "Learning in Networks: a survey," Economics Discussion Papers 9983, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    22. Kirman, Alan & Markose, Sheri & Giansante, Simone & Pin, Paolo, 2007. "Marginal contribution, reciprocity and equity in segregated groups: Bounded rationality and self-organization in social networks," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 2085-2107, June.
    23. Siddiky, Chowdhury Irad Ahmed, 2005. "Mahatma Gandhi and the Prisoner’s Dilemma: Strategic Civil Disobedience and Great Britain’s Great Loss of Empire in India," MPRA Paper 147, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 05 Sep 2005.
    24. Darong Dai, 2013. "Independence and Uniqueness of the Mixed-Strategy Equilibrium in Social Networks," International Journal of Business and Economic Sciences Applied Research (IJBESAR), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology (EMATTECH), Kavala, Greece, vol. 6(3), pages 79-96, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making


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