Bad Reputation under Bounded and Fading Memory
I relax the full memory assumption in Ely and Valimaki's (2003) mechanic game, where reputation is bad for all players. First I consider "bounded memory," where only finitely many recent periods are observed. For long memory, reputation is still bad. Shortening memory avoids bad reputation but only by making it "useless." There is no "happy middle:" reputation is either useless or reduces equilibrium payoffs for any memory length. I find a qualitatively different result for "fading memory," where players randomly sample past periods with probabilities "fading" toward zero. Unlike bounded memory, reputation is not bad but remains useful under sufficiently fast fading. This result extends to a more general class of both good and bad reputation games, suggesting reputation leaves long-run player behavior unaffected in some realistic word-of-mouth environments.
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- Liu, Qingmin & Skrzypacz, Andrzej, 2014. "Limited records and reputation bubbles," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 2-29.
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Games and Economic Behavior,
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- George J. Mailath & Wojciech Olszewski, 2008. "Folk Theorems with Bounded Recall under (Almost) Perfect Monitoring," PIER Working Paper Archive 08-019, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
- Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414.
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