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Organizations and overlapping generations games: Memory, communication, and altruism

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  • Roger Lagunoff

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  • Akihiko Matsui

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Abstract

This paper studies the role of memory and communication in overlapping generations (OLG) games between ongoing organizations. In each organization, each individual, upon entry into the game, replaces his predecessor who has the same preferences and faces the same strategic possibilities. An individual has no prior memory - that is, he does not directly witness the events that occur before his tenure. Instead, each individual relies on information about the past from his predecessor via cheap talk. This paper highlights the role of communication as a surrogate for memory. It has been shown elsewhere that Folk Theorems hold in OLG games with long enough lived individuals who can perfectly observe the past. However, the Folk Theorem fails for many games when individuals have no prior memory. We show that for OLG games without prior memory but with costly communication, a Folk Theorem holds only when there is some altruistic link between cohorts in an organization. Our main result asserts that if communication costs are sufficiently small, or if altruistic weights on successors are sufficiently large, then a strongly stationary Folk Theorem (i.e., equilibrium payoffs are time invariant) obtains if a manager’s message is public information. The equilibria in this Folk Theorem require a special form of intergenerational sanctions. In these sanctions, punishment is sometimes carried out long after both victim and perpetrator have left the game. Without this special structure, altruism may in fact destroy cooperation when it would otherwise be possible. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2004

Suggested Citation

  • Roger Lagunoff & Akihiko Matsui, 2004. "Organizations and overlapping generations games: Memory, communication, and altruism," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 8(4), pages 383-411, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:reecde:v:8:y:2004:i:4:p:383-411
    DOI: 10.1007/s10058-003-0111-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ben-Porath, Elchanan & Kahneman, Michael, 1996. "Communication in Repeated Games with Private Monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 281-297, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Luckraz, Shravan, 2013. "On innovation cycles in a finite discrete R&D game," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 510-513.
    2. Luca Anderlini & Dino Gerardi & Roger Lagunoff, 2008. "A “Super” Folk Theorem for dynastic repeated games," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 37(3), pages 357-394, December.
    3. Luca Anderlini (Georgetown University), Dino Gerardi (Yale University), Roger Lagunoff (Georgetown University), 2004. "The Folk Theorem in Dynastic Repeated Games," Working Papers gueconwpa~04-04-09, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    4. Lagunoff, Roger, 2006. "Credible communication in dynastic government," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 59-86, January.
    5. Luca Anderlini & Dino Gerardi & Roger Lagunoff, 2012. "Communication and Learning," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 419-450.
    6. Conconi, Paola & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2005. "Re-election Incentives and the Sustainability of International Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5401, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Luca Anderlini & Dino Gerardi & Roger Lagunoff, 2007. "Social Memory and Evidence from the Past," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000850, UCLA Department of Economics.
    8. Ando, Munetomo & Kobayashi, Hajime, 2008. "Intergenerational conflicts of interest and seniority systems in organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 757-767, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Organizations; overlapping generations games; memory; communication; altruism; strongly stationary;

    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
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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