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On the Size and Structure of Group Cooperation

  • Matthew Haag

    (University of Warwick)

  • Roger Lagunoff

    (Geogetown University)

This paper examines characteristics of cooperative behavior in a repeated, n-person, continuous action generalization of a Prisoner's Dilemma game. When time preferences are heterogeneous and bounded away from one, how does group cooperation vary with the group's size and structure? For an arbitrary distribution of discount factors, we characterize the maximal average cooperation (MAC) likelihood of this game. The MAC likelihood is the highest average level of cooperation, over all stationary subgame perfect equilibrium paths, in the group. We show that the MAC likelihood is increasing in monotone shifts, and decreasing in mean preserving spreads, of the distribution of discount factors. This suggests that more heterogeneous groups are less cooperative. Finally, we show under certain conditions that the MAC likelihood exhibits increasing returns to scale when discounting is heterogeneous: larger groups are more cooperative than smaller ones. By contrast, when discounting is homogeneous, the MAC likelihood is invariant to group size.

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File URL: http://www.wallis.rochester.edu/WallisPapers/wallis_33.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy in its series Wallis Working Papers with number WP33.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: Oct 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:roc:wallis:wp33
Contact details of provider: Postal: University of Rochester, Wallis Institute, Harkness 109B Rochester, New York 14627 U.S.A.

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  1. Aoyagi, Masaki, 1996. "Reputation and Dynamic Stackelberg Leadership in Infinitely Repeated Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 378-393, November.
  2. Maskin, Eric & Kreps, David & Fudenberg, Drew, 1990. "Repeated Games with Long-run and Short-run Players," Scholarly Articles 3226950, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Mailath, George J. & Obara, Ichiro & Sekiguchi, Tadashi, 2002. "The Maximum Efficient Equilibrium Payoff in the Repeated Prisoners' Dilemma," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 99-122, July.
  4. Drew Fudenberg & David Levine, 1987. "Reputation and Equilibrium Selection in Games With a Patient Player," Working papers 461, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Marco Celentani, 1993. "Maintaining a Reputation Against A Long-Lived Opponent," Discussion Papers 1075R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Matthew Haag & Roger Lagunoff, 2006. "Social Norms, Local Interaction, And Neighborhood Planning ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 265-296, 02.
  7. Ehud Lehrer & Ady Pauzner, 1999. "Repeated Games with Differential Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 393-412, March.
  8. 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.
  9. Harrington, Joseph Jr., 1989. "Collusion among asymmetric firms: The case of different discount factors," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 289-307, June.
  10. Pecorino, Paul, 1999. "The effect of group size on public good provision in a repeated game setting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 121-134, April.
  11. Stahl, Dale II, 1991. "The graph of Prisoners' Dilemma supergame payoffs as a function of the discount factor," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 368-384, August.
  12. Martin McGuire, 1974. "Group size, group homo-geneity, and the aggregate provision of a pure public good under cournot behavior," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 107-126, June.
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