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Does Experience Teach? Professionals and Minimax Play in the Lab

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  • John Wooders

Abstract

Does expertise in strategic behavior obtained in the field transfer to the abstract setting of the laboratory? Palacios-Huerta and Volij (2008) argued that the behavior of professional soccer players in mixed-strategy games conforms closely to minimax play, while the behavior of students (who are presumably novices in strategic situations requiring unpredictability) does not. We reexamine their data, showing that the play of professionals is inconsistent with the minimax hypothesis in several respects: (i) professionals follow nonstationary mixtures, with action frequencies that are negatively correlated between the first and the second half of the experiment, (ii) professionals tend to switch between under- and overplaying an action relative to its equilibrium frequency, and (iii) the distribution of action frequencies across professionals is far from the distribution implied by minimax. In each respect, the behavior of students conforms more closely to the minimax hypothesis. Copyright 2010 The Econometric Society.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

Volume (Year): 78 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (05)
Pages: 1143-1154

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Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:78:y:2010:i:3:p:1143-1154

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Cited by:
  1. Kocker, Martin G. & Lenz, Marc V. & Sutter, Matthias, 2010. "Psychological pressure in competitive environments: Evidence from a randomized natural experiment: Comment," Working Papers in Economics 439, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  2. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List & David H. Reiley, 2010. "What Happens in the Field Stays in the Field: Exploring Whether Professionals Play Minimax in Laboratory Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1413-1434, 07.
  3. Spiliopoulos, Leonidas, 2013. "Beyond fictitious play beliefs: Incorporating pattern recognition and similarity matching," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 69-85.
  4. Okano, Yoshitaka, 2013. "Minimax play by teams," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 168-180.
  5. repec:fee:wpaper:1101 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Martin Kocher & Marc V. Lenz & Matthias Sutter, 2010. "Psychological pressure in competitive environments: Evidence from a randomized natural experiment: Comment, Second Version," University of East Anglia Applied and Financial Economics Working Paper Series 015, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  7. Spiliopoulos, Leonidas, 2012. "Pattern recognition and subjective belief learning in a repeated constant-sum game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 921-935.
  8. repec:wyi:wpaper:002021 is not listed on IDEAS

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