Policy making in international cooperation, a repeated game theory approach and it application to OPEC

Document Type : Research Article


1 Associate Professor of Economics Tehran University

2 PhD student, Allameh Tabataba’i University


In this paper, I clarify problems of international cooperation typically involve first a bargaining problem (akin to various coordinatin games) and next an enforcement problem (akin to prisoners' dilemma game). To specify and explore this conception analytically, I develop a game- theoretic model that depicts problems of international cooperation as having two linked phases. In the first phase, states bargain over the particular deal to be implemented in the second, "enforcement phase" of the game, which is modeled as a repeated Prisoners' Dilemma. According to the consequences of this model, a longer shadow of the future makes cooperation sustainable and so more likely, the analysis here suggests that though a long shadow of the future may make enforcing an international agreement easier, it can also give states an incentive to bargain harder, delaying agreement in hopes of getting a better deal. I apply this model to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to illustrate poor states with low reserves per capita (present-oriented states) receive better oil production offers than rich states with high reserves per capita (future-oriented states) in order to sustain cooperation.


  1. الف- منابع فارسی

    1- نظریه بازیها وکاربردهای آن( بازیهای ایستا وپویا با اطلاعات کامل)، قهرمان عبدلی، سازمان انتشارات جهاد دانشگاهی واحد تهران، 1386.

    ب- منابع انگلیسی

    1. Lisa Blaydes, (2004), "Rewarding Impatience: A Bargaining and Enforcement Model of OPEC", international Organization 58, pp. 213-237

    2. Blaydes, Lisa, (2004), "Rewarding Impatience’ Revisited: A Response to Goodrich", International Organization 60, pp. 515-525

    3. Chayes, Abram, & Antonia Handler Chayes, (1993), "On Compliance", International Organization 47, pp. 147-167

    4. Downs, George, David Rocke, (1996), "Is The Good News About Compliance Good News About Cooperation?", International Organization 50, pp. 379-407 

    5. Evangelista, Mathew, (1990), "Cooperation Theory And Disarmament Negotiations In The 1950s", World Politics 42, pp. 502-528

    6. Fearon James D., (1998), "Bargaining and enforcement, and international cooperation", International organization 52, pp. 269-305

    7. Gibbons R (1992). "Games Theory for Applied Economists", Princeton University Press.

    8. Goodrich, Ben, (2006), "A comment on rewarding Impatience", Cambridge University Press, pp. 499-513

    9. Grieco, Joseph, (1993), "Anarchy And The Limits Of Cooperation: A Realist Critique Of The Newest Liberal Institutionalism", International organization 42, pp. 485-507 

    10. Keohane, Robert, & Helen Milner, (1996), "Internationalization And Domestic Politics", Cambridge University Press.

    11. Krasner, Stephen D., (1991), "Global Communication And National Power: Life On The Pareto Frontier", World Politics 43, pp. 336-366

    12. Olson, Mancur, & Richard Zeckhauser, (1966), "An Economic Theory Of Alliance", Review Of Economics And Statistics 48, pp. 266-279

    13. Rubinstein, Ariel. (1982), "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model", Econometrica 50, pp. 97–110.

    14. Schelling, Thomas. (1960), "The Strategy Of Conflict", Harvard University Press.

    15. Snidal, Duncan. (1985), "Coordination Versus Prisoner's Dilemma", Science Review 79, pp. 23-42

    16. Snidal, Duncan. (1991), "Relative Gains And The Pattern Of International Cooperation", American Political Science Review 85, pp. 701-726

    17. Stein, Arthur. (1982), "Coordination and Collaboration: Regimes in an Anarchic World", International Organization 36, pp. 299–3