Maximin equilibrium

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Abstract

Applications of the maximin criterion extend beyond economics to statistics, computer science, politics, and operations research. However, the maximin criterion---be it von Neumann's, Wald's, or Rawls'---draws fierce criticism due to its extremely pessimistic stance. I propose a novel concept, dubbed the optimin criterion, which is based on (Pareto) optimizing the worst-case payoffs of tacit agreements. The optimin criterion generalizes and unifies results in various fields: It not only coincides with (i) Wald's statistical decision-making criterion when Nature is antagonistic, (ii) the core in cooperative games when the core is nonempty, though it exists even if the core is empty, but it also generalizes (iii) Nash equilibrium in $n$-person constant-sum games, (iv) stable matchings in matching models, and (v) competitive equilibrium in the Arrow-Debreu economy. Moreover, every Nash equilibrium satisfies the optimin criterion in an auxiliary game.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014

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