IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Social Memory and Evidence from the Past

Examples of repeated destructive behavior abound throughout the history of human societies. This paper examines the role of social memory -- a society's vicarious beliefs about the past -- in creating and perpetuating destructive conflicts. We examine whether such behavior is consistent with the theory of rational strategic behavior. We analyze an infinite-horizon model in which two countries face off each period in an extended Prisoner's Dilemma game in which an additional possibility of mutually destructive "all out war" yields catastrophic consequence for both sides. Each country is inhabited by a dynastic sequence of individuals who care about future individuals in the same country, and can communicate with the next generation of their countrymen using private messages. The two countries' actions in each period also produce physical evidence; a sequence of informative but imperfect public signals that can be observed by all current and future individuals. We find that, provided the future is sufficiently important for all individuals, regardless of the precision of physical evidence from the past there is an equilibrium of the model in which the two countries' social memory is systematically wrong, and in which the two countries engage in all out war with arbitrarily high frequency. Surprisingly, we find that degrading the quality of information that individuals have about current decisions may "improve" social memory so that it can no longer be systematically wrong. This in turn ensures that arbitrarily frequent all out wars cannot take place.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d16a/d1601.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1601.

as
in new window

Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1601
Contact details of provider: Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  2. 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.
  3. Roger Lagunoff & Akihiko Matsui, 2004. "Organizations and overlapping generations games: Memory, communication, and altruism," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 383-411, 04.
  4. Smith, Lones, 1992. "Folk theorems in overlapping generations games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 426-449, July.
  5. David M Kreps & Robert Wilson, 2003. "Sequential Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000813, David K. Levine.
  6. Edward L. Glaeser, 2002. "The Political Economy of Hatred," NBER Working Papers 9171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Banerjee, Abhijit & Fudenberg, Drew, 2004. "Word-of-mouth learning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-22, January.
  8. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2005. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," NBER Working Papers 11208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1994. "A Course in Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650401, June.
  10. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine & Eric Maskin, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 394, David K. Levine.
  11. Michi Kandori, 2010. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Levine's Working Paper Archive 630, David K. Levine.
  12. Philip Johnson & David K. Levine & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2000. "Evolution and Information in a Gift Giving Game," Levine's Working Paper Archive 162, David K. Levine.
  13. Hajime Kobayashi, 2007. "Folk Theorems For Infinitely Repeated Games Played By Organizations With Short-Lived Members," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(2), pages 517-549, 05.
  14. Shotter, A. & Sopher, B., 2001. "Advice and Behavior in Intergenerational Ultimatum Games: An Experimental Approach," Working Papers 01-04, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  15. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and Incentives," CESifo Working Paper Series 2236, CESifo Group Munich.
  16. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
  17. Michihiro Kandori & Hitoshi Matsushima, 1998. "Private Observation, Communication and Collusion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 627-652, May.
  18. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Perfect Bayesian equilibrium and sequential equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 236-260, April.
  19. Gale, Douglas, 1996. "What have we learned from social learning?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 617-628, April.
  20. Luca Anderlini & Roger Lagunoff, 2001. " Communication in Dynastic Repeated Games: `Whitewashes' and `Coverups' ," Game Theory and Information 0107001, EconWPA.
  21. Marco Ottaviani & Giuseppe Moscarini & Lones Smith, 1998. "Social learning in a changing world," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 657-665.
  22. Ahn, Illtae & Suominen, Matti, 2001. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Community Enforcement," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(2), pages 399-415, May.
  23. Roberta Dess�, 2008. "Collective Memory, Cultural Transmission, and Investments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 534-60, March.
  24. Bhaskar, V., 1994. "Informational Constraints and the Overlapping Generations Model: Folk and Anti-Folk Theorems," Papers 9485, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  25. Salant, David J., 1991. "A repeated game with finitely lived overlapping generations of players," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 244-259, May.
  26. Luca Anderlini & Dino Gerardi & Roger Lagunoff, 2006. "A 'Super' Folk Theorem for Dynastic Repeated Games," Working Papers gueconwpa~06-06-01, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  27. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1997. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," DELTA Working Papers 97-03, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  28. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 1998. "Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 151-170, Summer.
  29. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "Money is memory," Staff Report 218, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  30. Kandori, Michihiro, 1992. "Repeated Games Played by Overlapping Generations of Players," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 81-92, January.
  31. Sylvain Chassang & Gerard Padro i Miquel, 2008. "Conflict and Deterrence under Strategic Risk," NBER Working Papers 13964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Dean Corbae & Ted Temzelides & Randall Wright, 2003. "Directed Matching and Monetary Exchange," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(3), pages 731-756, 05.
  33. Joseph Farrell & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 103-118, Summer.
  34. Wallace, Neil, 2001. "Whither Monetary Economics?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 847-69, November.
  35. John Duffy & Nick Feltovich, 2006. "Words, Deeds, and Lies: Strategic Behaviour in Games with Multiple Signals," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 669-688.
  36. Kocherlakota, Narayana & Wallace, Neil, 1998. "Incomplete Record-Keeping and Optimal Payment Arrangements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 272-289, August.
  37. Ellison, Glenn, 1994. "Cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma with Anonymous Random Matching," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 567-88, July.
  38. Ananish Chaudhuri & Andrew Schotter & Barry Sopher, 2009. "Talking Ourselves to Efficiency: Coordination in Inter-Generational Minimum Effort Games with Private, Almost Common and Common Knowledge of Advice," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 91-122, 01.
  39. Jackson, Matthew O. & Kalai, Ehud, 1999. "Reputation versus Social Learning," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 40-59, September.
  40. Dessi, Roberta, 2005. "Memory, Cultural Transmission and Investments," IDEI Working Papers 316, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  41. Fudenberg, Drew & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Folk Theorem in Repeated Games with Discounting or with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 533-54, May.
  42. Olivier Compte, 1998. "Communication in Repeated Games with Imperfect Private Monitoring," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 597-626, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1601. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Glena Ames)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.