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Starting Small and Commitment

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  • Watson, Joel

Abstract

I study a model of a long-term partnership with two-sided incomplete information. The partners jointly determine the stakes of their relationahip and individually decide whether to cooperate with or betray each other over time. I characterize the extremal -- interim incentive efficient -- equilibria. In these equilibria, the partners generally "start small," with the level of interaction growing over time. The types of players separate quickly. Further, cooperation between "good" types is viable regardless of how pessimistic the players are about each other initially. The quick nature of separation in an extremal equilibrium contrasts with the outcome selected by a strong renegotiation criterion (as studied in Watson (1999)).

Suggested Citation

  • Watson, Joel, 1999. "Starting Small and Commitment," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt37p340fc, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt37p340fc
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Myerson, Roger B, 1983. "Mechanism Design by an Informed Principal," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1767-1797, November.
    2. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal: The Case of Private Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 379-409, March.
    3. Holmstrom, Bengt & Myerson, Roger B, 1983. "Efficient and Durable Decision Rules with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1799-1819, November.
    4. Rauch, James E. & Watson, Joel, 2003. "Starting small in an unfamiliar environment," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 1021-1042, September.
    5. Cramton Peter C. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Ratifiable Mechanisms: Learning from Disagreement," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 255-283, August.
    6. Oliver D. Hart & Jean Tirole, 1988. "Contract Renegotiation and Coasian Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 509-540.
    7. Joel Sobel, 1985. "A Theory of Credibility," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 557-573.
    8. Crawford, Vincent P, 1985. "Efficient and Durable Decision Rules: A Reformulation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 817-835, July.
    9. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1992. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal, II: Common Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 1-42, January.
    10. Watson, Joel, 1999. "Starting Small and Renegotiation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 52-90, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    long-term partnership;

    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

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