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Intentions and Social Interactions

Author

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  • J. Atsu Amegashie

    () (Department of Economics, University of Guelph)

Abstract

In psychological games, higher-order beliefs, emotions, and motives - in addition to actions - affect players’ payoffs. Suppose you are tolerated as opposed to being genuinely accepted by your peers and “friends”. In particular, suppose you are invited to a party, movie, dinner, etc not because your company is desired but because the inviter would feel guilty if she did not invite you. In all of these cases, it is conceivable that the intention behind the action will matter and hence will affect your payoffs. I model intentions in a dynamic non-psychological game under incomplete information. I then modify the game as a standard psychological game in the sense of Geanakoplos, Pearce and Stacchetti (Games and Economic Behavior, 1989) and Rabin (American Economic Review, 1993). I find a complex social interaction in the dynamic psychological equilibrium under incomplete information. In particular, a player may stick to a strategy of accepting every invitation with the goal of discouraging insincere invitations, while in the nonpsychological game this strategy is employed because all invitations are sincere. I discuss how being tolerated but not being truly accepted can explain the rejection of mutually beneficial trades, the choice of identity, social exclusion, marital divorce, and its implication for political correctness and affirmative action.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Atsu Amegashie, 2006. "Intentions and Social Interactions," Working Papers 0602, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:gue:guelph:2006-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Jonathan A. Parker, 2005. "Optimal Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1092-1118, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    guilt; intentions; psychological game; second-order beliefs; social interaction.;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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