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Imitation and the evolution of Walrasian behavior: Theoretically fragile but behaviorally robust

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  • Apesteguia, Jose
  • Huck, Steffen
  • Oechssler, Jörg
  • Weidenholzer, Simon

Abstract

A well-known result by Vega-Redondo (1997) [18] implies that in symmetric Cournot oligopolies, imitation leads to the Walrasian outcome. We show that this result is not robust to the slightest asymmetry in costs, since every outcome where agents choose identical actions will be played some fraction of the time in the long run. We then conduct experiments to check this fragility. We obtain that, contrary to the theoretical prediction, the Walrasian outcome is a good predictor of market outcomes. Finally, we suggest a new theory based on a mix of imitation and other learning processes that explains subjects' behavior fairly well.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 145 (2010)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 1603-1617

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:145:y:2010:i:5:p:1603-1617

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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Keywords: Evolutionary game theory Stochastic stability Imitation Cournot markets Information Experiments Simulations;

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References

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  1. Theo Offerman & Jan Potters & Joep Sonnemans, 1997. "Imitation and Belief Learning in an Oligopoly Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-116/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Apesteguia, Jose & Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Joerg, 2003. "Imitation - Theory and Experimental Evidence," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt3h0887tj, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  3. Schlag, Karl H., 1994. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? Exploring a Model of Social Evolution," Discussion Paper Serie B 296, University of Bonn, Germany.
  4. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1998. "Does information about competitors' actions increase or decrease competition in experimental oligopoly markets?," Industrial Organization 9803004, EconWPA.
  5. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1997. "The Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 375-384, March.
  6. Karl H. Schlag, 1995. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? A Bounded Rational Approach to Multi-Armed Bandits," Discussion Paper Serie B 361, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Mar 1996.
  7. Noeldecke,Georg & Samuelson,Larry, . "An evolutionary analysis of backward and forward induction," Discussion Paper Serie B 228, University of Bonn, Germany.
  8. Kandori, M. & Mailath, G.J., 1991. "Learning, Mutation, And Long Run Equilibria In Games," Papers 71, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program.
  9. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  10. P. Young, 1999. "The Evolution of Conventions," Levine's Working Paper Archive 485, David K. Levine.
  11. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  12. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 1999. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly--An Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages C80-95, March.
  13. Yasuhito Tanaka, 1999. "Long run equilibria in an asymmetric oligopoly," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 705-715.
  14. Abbink, Klaus & Brandts, Jordi, 2008. "24. Pricing in Bertrand competition with increasing marginal costs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-31, May.
  15. Selten, Reinhard & Apesteguia, Jose, 2005. "Experimentally observed imitation and cooperation in price competition on the circle," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 171-192, April.
  16. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Ana Ania, 2005. "The evolutionary stability of perfectly competitive behavior," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 497-516, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bigoni, Maria & Fort, Margherita, 2013. "Information and Learning in Oligopoly: An Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7125, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Duersch, Peter & Oechssler, Joerg & Schipper, Burkhard C, 2010. "Unbeatable Imitation," MPRA Paper 20856, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Daniel Friedman & Steffen Huck & Ryan Oprea & Simon Weidenholzer, 2012. "From Imitation to Collusion: Long-run Learning in a Low-Information Environment," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000457, David K. Levine.
  4. Francesco Fallucchi & Elke Renner & Martin Sefton, 2012. "Information Feedback and Contest Structure in Rent-Seeking Games," Discussion Papers 2012-12, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  5. Peter Duersch & Joerg Oechssler & Burkhard Schipper, 2013. "When is Tit-For-Tat unbeatable?," Working Papers 131, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  6. Nikos Nikiforakis, 2008. "Feedback; Punishment and Cooperation in Public Good Experiments," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1036, The University of Melbourne.
  7. Khan Abhimanyu & Peeters Ronald, 2011. "Evolution of behavior when duopolists choose prices and quantities," Research Memorandum 027, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  8. Bigoni, Maria & Fort, Margherita, 2013. "Information and learning in oligopoly: An experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 192-214.
  9. Peter Duersch & Joerg Oechssler & Burkhard Schipper, 2011. "Once Beaten, Never Again: Imitation in Two-Player Potential Games," Working Papers 1112, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.

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