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Breaking the Symmetry: Optimal Conventions in Repeated Symmetric Games

  • V. Bhaskar

    (University of St. Andrews)

We analyze the problem of coordinating upon asymmetric equilibria in a symmetric game, such as the battle-of-the-sexes. In repeated interaction, asymmetric coordination is possible possible via symmetric repeated game strategies. This requires that players randomize initially and adopt a convention, i.e a (symmetric) rule which maps asymmetric realizations to asymmetric continuation paths. The multiplicity of possible conventions gives rise to a coordination problem at a higher level if the game is one of pure coordination. However, if there is a slight conflict of interest between players, a unique optimal convention often exists. The optimal convention is egalitarian, and thereby increases the probability of coordination.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 9706001.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 13 Jun 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:9706001
Note: Type of Document - Scientific Word DVI file; prepared on IBM PC; to print on any; pages: 21+; figures: none
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Crawford, Vincent P & Haller, Hans, 1990. "Learning How to Cooperate: Optimal Play in Repeated Coordination Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(3), pages 571-95, May.
  2. Sugden, Robert, 1995. "A Theory of Focal Points," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 533-50, May.
  3. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, June.
  4. Maarten Janssen, 2001. "Rationalizing Focal Points," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 119-148, March.
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