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


  • Luca Anderlini

    (Georgetown University and Southampton University)

  • Roger Lagunoff

    (Georgetown University)


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 be hidden by the current cohort in a unanimous `coverup'. We show that in this case only weakly renegotiation proof payoffs are sustainable in equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Anderlini & Roger Lagunoff, 2001. " Communication in Dynastic Repeated Games: `Whitewashes' and `Coverups' ," Game Theory and Information 0107001, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0107001
    Note: Type of Document - LaTex; prepared on Dell PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 37 ; figures: included

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard McLean & Ichiro Obara & Andrew Postlewaite, 2001. "Informational Smallness and Private Monitoring in Repeated Games," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-024, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 20 Jul 2005.
    2. Luca Anderlini & Dino Gerardi & Roger Lagunoff, 2008. "A “Super” Folk Theorem for dynastic repeated games," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 37(3), pages 357-394, December.
    3. Luca Anderlini (Georgetown University), Dino Gerardi (Yale University), Roger Lagunoff (Georgetown University), 2004. "The Folk Theorem in Dynastic Repeated Games," Working Papers gueconwpa~04-04-09, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    4. Lagunoff, Roger, 2006. "Credible communication in dynastic government," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 59-86, January.
    5. Luca Anderlini & Dino Gerardi & Roger Lagunoff, 2012. "Communication and Learning," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 419-450.
    6. Ichiro Obara, 2005. "Informational Smallness and Private Monitoring in Repeated Games (with R. McLean and A. Postlewaite)," UCLA Economics Online Papers 365, UCLA Department of Economics.
    7. Luca Anderlini & Dino Gerardi & Roger Lagunoff, 2007. "Social Memory and Evidence from the Past," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000850, UCLA Department of Economics.
    8. McLean, Richard & Obara, Ichiro & Postlewaite, Andrew, 2014. "Robustness of public equilibria in repeated games with private monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 191-212.
    9. Ando, Munetomo & Kobayashi, Hajime, 2008. "Intergenerational conflicts of interest and seniority systems in organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 757-767, March.
    10. Daniel Monte & Maher Said, 2014. "The value of (bounded) memory in a changing world," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 56(1), pages 59-82, May.
    11. Caleb Cox & Matthew Jones & Kevin Pflum & Paul Healy, 2015. "Revealed reputations in the finitely repeated prisoners’ dilemma," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 58(3), pages 441-484, April.
    12. Luca Anderlini & Dino Gerardi & Roger Lagunoff, 2007. "A `Super Folk Theorem' in Dynastic Repeated Games," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000926, UCLA Department of Economics.
    13. Kurt Annen, 2011. "Lies and slander: truth-telling in repeated matching games with private monitoring," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 37(2), pages 269-285, July.

    More about this item


    Dynastic Repeated Games; Communication; Whitewashing; Coverups;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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