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Confusion and Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Public Good Games

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  • Ralph-C Bayer

    ()
    (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)

  • Elke Renner

    ()
    (School of Economics, University of Nottingham)

  • Rupert Sausgruber

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

We use a limited information environment to mimic the state of confusion in an experimental, repeated public goods game. The results show that reinforcement learning leads to dynamics similar to those observed in standard public goods games. However, closer inspection shows that individual decay of contributions in standard public goods games cannot be fully explained by reinforcement learning. According to our estimates, learning only accounts for 41 percent of the decay in contributions in standard public goods games. The contribution dynamics of subjects, who are identi?ed as conditional cooperators, di®er strongly from the learning dynamics, while a learning model estimated from the limited information treatment tracks behavior for subjects, who cannot be classi?ed as conditional cooperators, reasonably well.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 2009-18.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cdx:dpaper:2009-18

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Keywords: public goods experiments; learning; limited information; confusion; conditional cooperation;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2008. "Heterogeneous Social Preferences And The Dynamics Of Free Riding In Public Good Experiments," Discussion Papers 2008-07, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  2. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2009. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Good Experiments," Discussion Papers 2009-04, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  3. Toke Reinholt Fosgaard & Lars Gårn Hansen & Erik Wengström, 2011. "Framing and Misperceptions in a Public Good Experiment," IFRO Working Paper 2011/11, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics, revised Oct 2012.

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