Repeated Games and Reputations: Long-run Relationships

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 relationships.

Description

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.

Reviews

"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 findings."
    — 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 University

"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 the field."
    — 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 Wisconsin.