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Repeated Relationships with Limits on Information Processing

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew Postlewaite

    () (Department of Economics)

  • Olivier Compte

    () (Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

Many important strategic problems are characterized by repeated interactions among agents. There is a large literature in game theory and economics illustrating how considerations of future interactions can provide incentives for cooperation that would not be possible in one-shot interactions. Much of the work in repeated games assumes public monitoring: players observe precisely the same thing at each stage of the game. It is well-understood that even slight deviations from public monitoring increase dramatically the difficulty the problems players face in coordinating their actions. Repeated games with private monitoring incorporate differences in what players observe at each stage. Equilibria in repeated games with private monitoring, however, often seem unrealistic; the equilibrium strategies may be highly complex and very sensitive to the fine details of the stochastic relationship between players’ actions and observations. Furthermore, there is no realistic story about how players might arrive at their equilibrium strategies. We propose an alternative approach to understanding how people cooperate. Each player is endowed with a mental system that processes information: a mental system consists of a number of psychological states and a transition function between states that depends on observations made. In this world, a strategy is just a function from states to actions. Our framework has the following desirable properties: (i) players restrict attention to a relatively small set of simple strategies. (ii) the number of strategies that players compare is small enough that players might ultimately learn which perform well. We find that some mental systems allow agents to cooperate under a broad set of parameters, while others are not conducive to cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Postlewaite & Olivier Compte, 2008. "Repeated Relationships with Limits on Information Processing," PIER Working Paper Archive 08-026, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:08-026
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christopher Phelan & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2006. "Private monitoring with infinite histories," Staff Report 383, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    2. Mailath, George J. & Morris, Stephen, 2002. "Repeated Games with Almost-Public Monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 189-228, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Berg, Nathan & Biele, Guido & Gigerenzer, Gerd, 2010. "Does consistency predict accuracy of beliefs?: Economists surveyed about PSA," MPRA Paper 26590, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. David A. Miller & Kareen Rozen, 2011. "Optimally Empty Promises and Endogenous Supervision," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1823, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jun 2012.
    3. Akin, Zafer, 2009. "Imperfect information processing in sequential bargaining games with present biased preferences," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 642-650, August.
    4. Olivier Compte & Andrew Postlewaite, 2007. "Effecting Cooperation," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-019, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 29 May 2009.
    5. Compte, Olivier & Postlewaite, Andrew, 2015. "Plausible cooperation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 45-59.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Repeated Games; Private Monitoring; Mental States;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General

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