Strategic behavior under partial cooperation

Theory and Decision 71 (2):175-193 (2011)
Abstract
We investigate how a group of players might cooperate with each other within the setting of a non-cooperative game. We pursue two notions of partial cooperative equilibria that follow a modification of Nash’s best response rationality rather than a core-like approach. Partial cooperative Nash equilibrium treats non-cooperative players and the coalition of cooperators symmetrically, while the notion of partial cooperative leadership equilibrium assumes that the group of cooperators has a first-mover advantage. We prove existence theorems for both types of equilibria. We look at three well-known applications under partial cooperation. In a game of voluntary provision of a public good we show that our two new equilibrium notions of partial cooperation coincide. In a modified Cournot oligopoly, we identify multiple equilibria of each type and show that a non-cooperator may have a higher payoff than a cooperator. In contrast, under partial cooperation in a symmetric Salop City game, a cooperator enjoys a higher return.
Keywords Cooperation  Non-cooperative games
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