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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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  1. Offerman, T.J.S. & Potters, J.J.M. & Sonnemans, J., 2002. "Imitation and belief learning in an oligopoly experiment," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-91663, Tilburg University.
  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., 1998. "Why Imitate, and If So, How?, : A Boundedly Rational Approach to Multi-armed Bandits," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 130-156, January.
  4. M. Kandori & G. Mailath & R. Rob, 1999. "Learning, Mutation and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 500, David K. Levine.
  5. Noeldecke,Georg & Samuelson,Larry, . "An evolutionary analysis of backward and forward induction," Discussion Paper Serie B 228, University of Bonn, Germany.
  6. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1997. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly - An Experiment," Game Theory and Information 9707009, EconWPA, revised 22 Jul 1997.
  7. Fernando Vega Redondo, 1996. "The evolution of walrasian behavior," Working Papers. Serie AD 1996-05, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  8. Reinhard Selten & Jose Apesteguia, 2002. "Experimentally Observed Imitation and Cooperation in Price Competition on the Circle," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse19_2002, University of Bonn, Germany.
  9. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  10. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Ana Ania, 2005. "The evolutionary stability of perfectly competitive behavior," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 497-516, October.
  11. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 2000. "Does information about competitors' actions increase or decrease competition in experimental oligopoly markets?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 39-57, January.
  12. Yasuhito Tanaka, 1999. "Long run equilibria in an asymmetric oligopoly," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 705-715.
  13. 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.
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  15. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
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