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Gradualism and Irreversibility

  • Ben Lockwood
  • Jonathan P. Thomas

This paper considers a class of two-player dynamic games in which each player controls a one-dimensional action variable, interpreted as a level of cooperation. The dynamics are due to an irreversibility constraint: neither player can ever reduce his cooperation level. Payoffs are decreasing in one's own action, increasing in one's opponent's action. We characterize efficient symmetric equilibrium action paths; actions rise gradually over time and converge, when payoffs are smooth, to a level strictly below the one-shot efficient level, no matter how little discounting takes place. The analysis is extended to incorporate sequential moves and asymmetric equilibria. Copyright 2002, Wiley-Blackwell.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/1467-937X.00208
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 69 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 339-356

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:69:y:2002:i:2:p:339-356
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  1. Ghemawat, Pankaj & Nalebuff, Barry, 1990. "The Devolution of Declining Industries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 167-86, February.
  2. Admati, Anat R & Perry, Motty, 1991. "Joint Projects without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 259-76, April.
  3. Fershtman, C. & Nitzan, S., 1988. "Dynamic Voluntary Provision Of Public Goods," Papers 21-88, Tel Aviv.
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