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Testing Threats in Repeated Games

  • Ran Spiegler

I introduce a solution concept for infinite-horizon games, called “Nash equilibrium with added tests”, in which players optimize with respect to relevant threats only after having tested them before. Both the optimal response and the tests are part of equilibrium behavior. The concept is applied to repeated 2×2 games and yields the following results: 1) Sustained cooperation in games such as the Prisoner’s Dilemma is preceded by a “build up” phase, whose comparative statics are characterized. 2) Sustainability of long-run cooperation by means of familiar selfenforcement conventions varies with the payoff structure. E.g., “constructive reciprocity” achieves cooperation with minimal buildup time in the Prisoner’s Dilemma, yet it is inconsistent with long-run cooperation in Chicken. 3) Nevertheless, a “folk theorem” holds for this class of games.

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 391749000000000445.

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Date of creation: 13 Jan 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:391749000000000445
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.dklevine.com/

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  1. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1997. "Games with Procedurally Rational Players," Department of Economics Working Papers 1997-02, McMaster University.
  2. Jehiel, Philippe, 2005. "Analogy-based expectation equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 81-104, August.
  3. Banks, J.S. & Sundaram, R.K., 1989. "Repeated Games, Finite Automata, And Complexity," RCER Working Papers 183, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1991. "Comments on the Interpretation of Game Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 909-24, July.
  5. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
  6. Kalai, Ehud & Stanford, William, 1988. "Finite Rationality and Interpersonal Complexity in Repeated Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 397-410, March.
  7. Martin J Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 2009. "A Course in Game Theory," Levine's Bibliography 814577000000000225, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Eliaz, K., 2001. "Nash Equilibrium When Players Account for the Complexity of their Forecasts," Papers 2001-6, Tel Aviv.
  9. Robert J. Aumann, 2010. "Correlated Equilibrium as an expression of Bayesian Rationality," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000377, David K. Levine.
  10. Ariel Rubinstein, 1997. "Finite automata play the repeated prisioners dilemma," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1639, David K. Levine.
  11. Selten,Reinhard & Mitzkewitz,Michael & Uhlich,Gerald, . "Duopoly strategies programmed by experienced players," Discussion Paper Serie B 106, University of Bonn, Germany.
  12. Ran Spiegler, 2002. "Equilibrium in Justifiable Strategies: A Model of Reason-based Choice in Extensive-form Games," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 691-706.
  13. Spiegler, R., 1999. "Reason-Based Choice and Justifiability in Extensive Form Games," Papers 19-99, Tel Aviv.
  14. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
  15. Neyman, Abraham, 1985. "Bounded complexity justifies cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 227-229.
  16. Abreu, Dilip & Rubinstein, Ariel, 1988. "The Structure of Nash Equilibrium in Repeated Games with Finite Automata," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1259-81, November.
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