Repeated Games and Reputations: Long-run
By George J. Mailath and Larry Samuelson
Oxford University Press, 2007
672 pages; 62 line illus.; 7 x 10; ISBN13: 978-0-19-530079-6ISBN10: 0-19-530079-3
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Abstract (Table of Contents)
This book begins with a careful development of fundamental concepts, including the
notions of a repeated game, strategy, and equilibrium. It synthesizes and unifies the vast
body of work in repeated games and reputations, bringing the reader to the research
frontier. Detailed arguments and proofs are given throughout; they are interwoven with
examples, discussions of how the theory is to be used in the study of relationships, and
economic applications of the theory. The book will be useful to those doing basic research
in the theory of repeated games as well as those using repeated games as tools in more
applied research. The classic folk theorem and reputation results for games of perfect and
imperfect public monitoring are presented, with the benefit of the modern analytical tools
of decomposability and self-generation. More recent developments are also presented,
including results beyond folk theorems and recent work in games of private monitoring and
alternative approaches to reputations. The book provides an integration of game theory and
economics, moving from the theory of repeated games to the study of economic
Personalized and continuing relationships play a central role in any society.
Economists have built upon the theories of repeated games and reputations to make
important advances in understanding such relationships. Repeated Games and Reputations
begins with a careful development of the fundamental concepts in these theories, including
the notions of a repeated game, strategy, and equilibrium.
Mailath and Samuelson then present the classic folk theorem and reputation results for
games of perfect and imperfect public monitoring, with the benefit of the modern
analytical tools of decomposability and self-generation.
They also present more recent developments, including results beyond folk theorems and
recent work in games of private monitoring and alternative approaches to reputations.
Repeated Games and Reputations synthesizes and unifies the vast body of work in this area,
bringing the reader to the research frontier. Detailed arguments and proofs are given
throughout, interwoven with examples, discussions of how the theory is to be used in the
study of relationships, and economic applications. The book will be useful to those doing
basic research in the theory of repeated games and reputations as well as those using
these tools in more applied research.
"George Mailath and Larry Samuelson have written a landmark book in game theory,
which takes stock of decades of research on repeated games and dynamic games more
generally. The book not only provides an insightful synthesis of the extensive literatures
relating to folk theorems, reputation, and play under a variety of information and
monitoring structures; but perhaps more importantly it provides some original proofs that
shed new light on some of the central results in these areas. This book will be an
invaluable resource for researchers in the area, and should also quickly become a standard
reading for advanced graduate students."
Matthew O. Jackson, Edie and Lew Wasserman Professor of
Economics, California Institute of Technology
"The study of repeated games has been one of the most fruitful and important
developments in economic theory in the last thirty years. In this beautifully lucid book,
George Mailath and Larry Samuelson--two leading researchers in the field--lay out the
classic results in detail and also bring the reader up to date with the latest
Eric S. Maskin, A.O. Hirschman Professor of Social Science,
Institute for Advanced Study
"The theory of reputations in repeated games has become one of the most important
areas of research in economic theory, because it offers essential insights into the
foundations of economic and political institutions. The past decade has seen great
progress in this area, especially in the study of games with imperfect private monitoring.
George Mailath and Larry Samuelson have been active leaders in this research, and here
they systematically lay out the state of the art. This book will be an important text and
reference for years to come."
Roger Myerson, University of Chicago
"Theorists use repeated games to understand self-enforcing contracts, and to explore
the power of reputation formation in strategic settings. The centrality of these ideas
explains why, despite the technical challenges involved, the literature on repeated games
has grown rapidly in recent years. With their masterful treatment of many of the most
important parts of this vast territory, Mailath and Samuelson have done a great service to
both students and researchers."
David G. Pearce, Department of Economics, New York
"Repeated Games is comprehensive, self-contained, and extremely clear, with proofs
that not infrequently improve on the originals. The book is an ideal text for part or all
of a second graduate class in game theory, and will be a valuable aid for any student of
Drew Fudenberg, Professor of Economics, Harvard University
About the Author(s)
George J. Mailath (Ph.D., Princeton University) is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor in
the Social Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Larry Samuelson (Ph.D., University
of Illinois) is the Antoine Augustin Cournot Professor of Economics at the University of