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Imitation - Theory and Experimental Evidence

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  • Jose Alpesteguia
  • Steffen Huck
  • Jörg Oechssler

Abstract

We introduce a generalized theoretical approach to study imitation models and subject themodels to rigorous experimental testing. In our theoretical analysis we find that the differentpredictions of previous imitation models are due to different informational assumptions, notto different behavioral rules. It is more important whom one imitates rather than how. In alaboratory experiment we test the different theories by systematically varying informationconditions. We find that the generalized imitation model predicts the differences betweentreatments well. The data also provide support for imitation on the individual level, both interms of choice and in terms of perception. But imitation is not unconditional. Ratherindividuals’ propensity to imitate more successful actions is increasing in payoff differences.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1049.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1049

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Keywords: evolutionary game theory; stochastic stability; imitation; Cournot markets; experiments;

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  1. Reinhard Selten & Jose Apesteguia, 2002. "Experimentally Observed Imitation and Cooperation in Price Competition on the Circle," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers, University of Bonn, Germany bgse19_2002, University of Bonn, Germany.
  2. Jordi Brandts & Klaus Abbink, 2004. "24," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000073, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Kandori, M. & Mailath, G.J., 1991. "Learning, Mutation, And Long Run Equilibria In Games," Papers, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program 71, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program.
  4. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1996. "The Theory of Learning in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 624, David K. Levine.
  5. D. Canning, 2010. "Average Behavior in Learning Models," Levine's Working Paper Archive 490, David K. Levine.
  6. Theo Offerman & Jan Potters & Joep Sonnemans, 1997. "Imitation and Belief Learning in an Oligopoly Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers, Tinbergen Institute 97-116/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  7. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
  8. Schlag, Karl H., 1999. "Which one should I imitate?," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 493-522, May.
  9. Alos-Ferrer, Carlos, 2004. "Cournot versus Walras in dynamic oligopolies with memory," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 193-217, February.
  10. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 1998. "Learning in games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 631-639, May.
  11. Abbink, Klaus & Brandts, Jordi, 2008. "24. Pricing in Bertrand competition with increasing marginal costs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-31, May.
  12. Fernando Vega Redondo, 1996. "The evolution of walrasian behavior," Working Papers. Serie AD, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie) 1996-05, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  13. Fudenberg, Drew & Ellison, Glenn, 1995. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning," Scholarly Articles 3196300, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  15. Samuelson Larry, 1994. "Stochastic Stability in Games with Alternative Best Replies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 35-65, October.
  16. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Jörg Oechssler, 2001. "Two are Few and Four are Many: Number Effects in Experimental Oligopolies," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers, University of Bonn, Germany bgse12_2001, University of Bonn, Germany.
  17. Monderer, Dov & Shapley, Lloyd S., 1996. "Potential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 124-143, May.
  18. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  19. Schlag, Karl H., 1994. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? Exploring a Model of Social Evolution," Discussion Paper Serie B, University of Bonn, Germany 296, University of Bonn, Germany.
  20. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1998. "Does information about competitors' actions increase or decrease competition in experimental oligopoly markets?," Industrial Organization, EconWPA 9803004, EconWPA.
  21. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1997. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly - An Experiment," Game Theory and Information, EconWPA 9707009, EconWPA, revised 22 Jul 1997.
  22. Karl H. Schlag, . "Why Imitate, and if so, How? A Bounded Rational Approach to Multi- Armed Bandits," ELSE working papers, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution 028, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
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