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Imitation Equilibrium

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Author Info

  • Reinhard Selten
  • Axel Ostmann

Abstract

The paper presents the concept of an "imitation equilibrium" and explores it in the context of some simple oligopoly models. The concept applies to normal form games enriched by a "reference structure" specifying a "reference group" for every player. The reference group is a set of other players, whom the player may consider to imitate. Some of these players may not be suitable for imitation for various reasons. Only one of the most successful of the remaining members of the reference group is imitated. Imitation is the adoption of the imitated player's strategy. Imitation equilibrium does not only mean absence of imitation opportunities but also stability against exploratory deviations of "success leaders", i. e. players most successful in their reference groups. Exploration declenches a process of imitation which either leads back to imitation equilibrium directly or by a "return path" after an unsuccessful deviation. The imitation equilibrium concept is motivated by the experimental literature which suggests that under appropriate conditions imitation of the most successful relevant other is an important behavioral force. The concept may be useful for the evaluation of experimental data and for planning of future experiments.

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File URL: http://www.wiwi.uni-bonn.de/bgsepapers/bonedp/bgse16_2000.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse16_2000.

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Length: 39
Date of creation: Dec 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse16_2000

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Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Fax: +49 228 73 6884
Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

Related research

Keywords: Imitation equilibrium; oligopoly; normal form games; experimental economics;

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References

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  1. James W. Friedman, 1965. "An Experimental Study of Cooperative Duopoly," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 192, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1997. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly - An Experiment," Game Theory and Information 9707009, EconWPA, revised 22 Jul 1997.
  3. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1999. "Markets under bounded rationality: from theory to facts," Investigaciones Economicas, FundaciĆ³n SEPI, vol. 23(1), pages 3-26, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cartwright, Edward, 2003. "Learning To Play Approximate Nash Equilibria In Games With Many Players," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 671, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. David Chavalarias, 2006. "Metamimetic Games : Modeling Metadynamics in Social Cognition," Post-Print hal-00007743, HAL.
  3. Cartwright, Edward, 2003. "Imitation and the Emergence of Nash Equilibrium Play in Games with Many Players," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 684, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. Bardsley, Nicholas & Sausgruber, Rupert, 2005. "Conformity and reciprocity in public good provision," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 664-681, October.

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