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Complexity and Competition, Part I: Sequential Matching

  • Douglas Gale
  • Hamid Sabourian

This paper uses the complexity of non-competitive behaviour to provide a new justification for competitive equilibrium in the context of extensive-form market games with a finite number of agents. This paper demonstrates that if rational agents have (at least at the margin) an aversion for complex behaviours then their maximizing behaviour will result in simple behavioural rules and thereby in a perfectly competitive outcome. In particular, we consider sequential market games with heterogeneous sets of buyers and sellers and show that if the complexity costs of implementing strategies enter players’ preferences, together with the standard payoff in the game, then every equilibrium strategy profile induces a competitive outcome. This is done for sequential deterministic matching/bargaining models in which at any date either the identities of the matched players are determined exogenously or one player is exogenously selected to choose his partner and make a price proposal.

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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 666156000000000199.

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Date of creation: 21 Aug 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:666156000000000199
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.dklevine.com/

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  1. Gale, D. & Sabourian, H., 2002. "Markov Equilibria of Dynamic Matching and Bargaining Games," Working Papers 02-07, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  2. Kalyan Chatterjee & Hamid Sabourian, 1998. "Multiperson Bargaining and Strategic Complexity," CRIEFF Discussion Papers 9808, Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm.
  3. Gale, Douglas M, 1986. "Bargaining and Competition Part I: Characterization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 785-806, July.
  4. Hamid Sabourian, 2000. "Bargaining and Markets: Complexity and the Walrasian Outcome," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1249, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. McLennan, Andrew & Sonnenschein, Hugo, 1991. "Sequential Bargaining as a Noncooperative Foundation for Walrasian Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1395-1424, September.
  6. Rubinstein, Ariel & Wolinsky, Asher, 1990. "Decentralized Trading, Strategic Behaviour and the Walrasian Outcome," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 63-78, January.
  7. Kalai, E & Neme, A, 1992. "The Strength of a Little Perfection," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 335-55.
  8. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1986. "Finite automata play the repeated prisoner's dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 83-96, June.
  9. Binmore, Ken G & Herrero, M J, 1988. "Matching and Bargaining in Dynamic Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 17-31, January.
  10. 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.
  11. Arial Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1985. "Equilibrium in a Market with Sequential Bargaining," Levine's Working Paper Archive 623, David K. Levine.
  12. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 2005. "Bargaining and Markets," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000515, UCLA Department of Economics.
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