Strategic experimentation with Poisson bandits
AbstractWe study a game of strategic experimentation with two-armed bandits where the risky arm distributes lump-sum payoffs according to a Poisson process. Its intensity is either high or low, and unknown to the players. We consider Markov perfect equilibria with beliefs as the state variable and show that all such equilibria exhibit an 'encouragement effect' relative to the single-agent optimum. There is no equilibrium in which all players use cut-off strategies. Owing to the encouragement effect, asymmetric equilibria in which players take turns playing the risky arm before all experimentation stops Pareto dominate the unique symmetric equilibrium. Rewarding the last experimenter with a higher continuation value increases the range of beliefs where players experiment, but may reduce the intensity of experimentation at more optimistic beliefs. This suggests that there is no equilibrium that uniformly maximizes the players' average payoff.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Econometric Society in its journal Theoretical Economics.
Volume (Year): 5 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
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Web page: http://econtheory.org
Strategic experimentation; two-armed bandit; Poisson process; Bayesian learning; piecewise deterministic process; Markov perfect equilibrium; differential-difference equation;
Other versions of this item:
- Keller, Godfrey & Rady, Sven, 2009. "Strategic Experimentation with Poisson Bandits," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 260, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
- Sven Rady & Godfrey Keller, 2007. "Strategic Experimentation with Poisson Bandits," 2007 Meeting Papers 332, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Keller, R Godfrey & Rady, Sven, 2009. "Strategic Experimentation with Poisson Bandits," CEPR Discussion Papers 7270, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Keller, Godfrey & Rady, Sven, 2009. "Strategic Experimentation with Poisson Bandits," Discussion Papers in Economics 10575, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
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- Godfrey Keller & Sven Rady & Martin Cripps, 2005.
"Strategic Experimentation with Exponential Bandits,"
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- Cripps, Martin William & Keller, Godfrey & Rady, Sven, 2003. "Strategic Experimentation with Exponential Bandits," CEPR Discussion Papers 3814, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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