Commitment Robust Equilibria and Endogenous Timing

Eric van Damme and Sjaak Hurkens

Abstract: This paper investigates which equilibria of a game are still viable when players have the opportunity to commit themselves. To that end we study a model of endogenous timing in which players face the trade-off between committing early and forcing the opponent to best respond, and moving late so as to be able to play a best response against the opponent. It is shown that most mixed strategy equilibria of the original game are not viable when the sequencing of the moves is endogenous. In contrast, any pure strategy equilibrium is a perfect equilibrium outcome of the timing game. More refined equilibrium concepts with an evolutionary flavor, however, allow the conclusion that only equilibria in which no player has an incentive to move first are viable.

Keywords: Commitment, endogenous timing.

Classification Number: C72.

Games and Economic Behavior 15:290-311 (1996)