IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Communication in Dynastic Repeated Games: 'Whitewashes' and 'Coverups'

We ask whether communication can directly substitute for memory in dynastic repeated games in which short lived individuals care about the utility of their offspring who replace them in an infinitely repeated game. Each individual is unable to observe what happens before his entry in the game. Past information is therefore conveyed from one cohort to the next by means of communication. When communication is costless and messages are sent simultaneously, communication mechanisms or protocols exist that sustain the same set of equilibrium payoffs as in the standard repeated game. When communication is costless but sequential, the incentives to 'whitewash' the unobservable past history of play become pervasive. These incentives to whitewash can only be countered if some player serves as a 'neutral historian' who verifies the truthfulness of others' reports while remaining indifferent in the process. By contrast, when communication is sequential and (lexicographically) costly, all protocols admit only equilibria that sustain stage Nash equilibrium payoffs. We also analyze a centralized communication protocol in which history leaves a 'footprint' that can only hidden by the current cohort by a unanimous 'coverup'. We show that in this case only weakly renegotiation proof payoffs are sustainable in equilibrium.

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:
File Function: Full text
Download Restriction: None

Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~01-01-03.

in new window

Length: 37pp
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2000
Date of revision: 01 Jul 2001
Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~01-01-03
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036

Phone: 202-687-6074
Fax: 202-687-6102
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: Roger Lagunoff Professor of Economics Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
Web: Email:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

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:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~01-01-03. 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: (Marcia Suss)

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.