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Comparative Statics of a Signaling Game: An Experimental Study

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  • Potters, Jan
  • van Winden, Frans

Abstract

In this paper a simple and basic signaling game is studied in an experimental environment. First, we check whether we can replicate some of the findings in the literature concerning equilibrium selection and the use and impact of costly signals. Second, and foremost, the comparative statics implications of the game are studied. The experimental results are related to the predictions of two competing behavioral models: a game model, in which subjects are assumed to behave in line with (refined) sequential equilibrium theory, and a decision model, in which subjects are assumed to behave as non-strategic decision makers. The experimental outcomes replicate the finding in the literature that costly messages are sent more frequently by 'higher' sender types (whose information is such that persuasion is also profitable to the responder), and that such messages have an impact on the behavior of the responder. These results are consistent with (versions of) both the game model and the decision model. The comparative statics results, however, clearly point in the direction of the decision model. Play is most strongly affected by 'own' payoff parameters, as predicted by the decision model, and less so by opponent's payoff parameters, as predicted by the mixed strategies of the refined sequential equilibrium. Particularly, a decision model in which players are assumed to adapt beliefs about opponents' choice probabilities in response to experience in previous play, appears to succeed best in organizing the data.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal International Journal of Game Theory.

Volume (Year): 25 (1996)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 329-53

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jogath:v:25:y:1996:i:3:p:329-53

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  1. Kagel, John H & Roth, Alvin E, 1992. "Theory and Misbehavior in First-Price Auctions: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1379-91, December.
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  4. Cadsby, C,B. & Frank, M. & Maksimovic, V., 1992. "Equilibrium Dominance in Experimental Financial Market," Working Papers 1992-05, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  5. Banks, Jeffrey & Camerer, Colin & Porter, David., 1990. "An Experimental Analysis of Nash Refinements in Signaling Games," Working Papers 740, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  6. Wittman, Donald, 1985. "Counter-intuitive results in game theory," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 77-89.
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  9. Mookherjee Dilip & Sopher Barry, 1994. "Learning Behavior in an Experimental Matching Pennies Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 62-91, July.
  10. Cho, In-Koo & Sobel, Joel, 1990. "Strategic stability and uniqueness in signaling games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 381-413, April.
  11. Camerer, Colin & Weigelt, Keith, 1988. "Experimental Tests of a Sequential Equilibrium Reputation Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 1-36, January.
  12. Davis, Douglas D. & Holt, Charles a., 1993. "Experimental economics: Methods, problems and promise," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 8(2), pages 179-212.
  13. Cadsby, Charles B & Frank, Murray & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 1990. "Pooling, Separating, and Semiseparating Equilibria in Financial Markets: Some Experimental Evidence," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(3), pages 315-42.
  14. Brandts, Jordi & Holt, Charles A, 1992. "An Experimental Test of Equilibrium Dominance in Signaling Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1350-65, December.
  15. Potters, Jan & van Winden, Frans, 1992. " Lobbying and Asymmetric Information," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 269-92, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Potters, J.J.M. & Winden, F.A.A.M. van, 2000. "Professionals and students in a lobbying experiment - Professional rules of conduct and subject surrogacy," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-84634, Tilburg University.
  2. Jeitschko, Thomas D. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2012. "Signaling in deterministic and stochastic settings," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 39-55.
  3. Paul Frijters & Alexander F. Tieman, 1999. "The Role and Evolution of Central Authorities," Game Theory and Information 9902002, EconWPA.
  4. Kübler, Dorothea & Müller, Wieland & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2008. "Job-market signaling and screening: An experimental comparison," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 219-236, September.
  5. Theo Offerman & Jan Potters & Joep Sonnemans, 2002. "Imitation and Belief Learning in an Oligopoly Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 973-997.
  6. Volker Benndorf & Dorothea Kübler & Hans-Theo Normann, 2013. "Privacy Concerns, Voluntary Disclosure of Information, and Unraveling: An Experiment," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2013-040, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  7. Daniele Nosenzo & Theo Offerman & Martin Sefton & Ailko van der Veen, 2010. "Inducing Good Behavior: Bonuses versus Fines in Inspection Games," Discussion Papers 2010-21, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  8. Cervantes, Laura & Vilalta y Perdomo, Carlos J., 2006. "Una Evaluación Geográfica de la Política de Educación Media Superior de la Ciudad de México," EGAP Working Papers 2006-07, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad de México.

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