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A Simple Test of Learning Theory?

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  • Jim Engle-Warnick
  • Ed Hopkins

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Abstract

We report experiments designed to test the theoretical possibility, first discovered by Shapley (1964), that in some games learning fails to converge to any equilibrium, either in terms of marginal frequencies or of average play. Subjects played repeatedly in fixed pairings one of two 3 × 3 games, each having a unique Nash equilibrium in mixed strategies. The equilibrium of one game is predicted to be stable under learning, the other unstable, provided payoffs are sufficiently high. We ran each game in high and low payoff treatments. We find that, in all treatments, average play is close to equilibrium even though there are strong cycles present in the data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh in its series ESE Discussion Papers with number 153.

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Length: 29
Date of creation: Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:153

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Keywords: : Games; Learning; Experiments; Stochastic Fictitious Play; Mixed Strategy Equilibria.;

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References

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  1. Benaïm, Michel & Hofbauer, Josef & Hopkins, Ed, 2009. "Learning in games with unstable equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1694-1709, July.
  2. John Duffy & Ed Hopkins, 2004. "Learning, Information and Sorting in Market Entry Games: Theory and Evidence," ESE Discussion Papers 78, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  3. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2001. "Information Gatekeepers on the Internet and the Competitiveness of Homogeneous Product Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 454-474, June.
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  5. Cason, T. & Friedman, D. & Wagener, F.O.O., 2003. "The dynamics of price dispersion, or Edgeworth variations," CeNDEF Working Papers 03-11, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Economics and Finance.
  6. Timothy N. Cason & Daniel Friedman, 2000. "Buyer Search and Price Dispersion: A Laboratory Study," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1549, Econometric Society.
  7. Battalio, Raymond & Samuelson, Larry & Van Huyck, John, 2001. "Optimization Incentives and Coordination Failure in Laboratory Stag Hunt Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(3), pages 749-64, May.
  8. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
  9. Ed Hopkins, 2001. "Two Competing Models of How People Learn in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000226, David K. Levine.
  10. Benaim, Michel & Hirsch, Morris W., 1999. "Mixed Equilibria and Dynamical Systems Arising from Fictitious Play in Perturbed Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 36-72, October.
  11. Sergiu Hart & Andreu Mas-Colell, 1997. "A Simple Adaptive Procedure Leading to Correlated Equilibrium," Game Theory and Information 9703006, EconWPA, revised 24 Mar 1997.
  12. Tang, Fang-Fang, 2001. "Anticipatory learning in two-person games: some experimental results," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 221-232, February.
  13. Morgan, John & Orzen, Henrik & Sefton, Martin, 2006. "An experimental study of price dispersion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 134-158, January.
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  16. Ed Hopkins & Roberty M. Seymour, 2002. "The Stability of Price Dispersion under Seller and Consumer Learning," Game Theory and Information 0203002, EconWPA.
  17. Glenn Ellison & Drew Fudenberg, 1998. "Learning Purified Mixed Equilibria," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1817, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  18. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2003. "Risk averse behavior in generalized matching pennies games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 97-113, October.
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  21. 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, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
  22. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  23. Josef Hofbauer & Ed Hopkins, 2004. "Learning in Perturbed Asymmetric Games," ESE Discussion Papers 53, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  24. Van Huyck, John B & Cook, Joseph P & Battalio, Raymond C, 1994. "Selection Dynamics, Asymptotic Stability, and Adaptive Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 975-1005, October.
  25. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Benaïm, Michel & Hofbauer, Josef & Hopkins, Ed, 2009. "Learning in games with unstable equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1694-1709, July.
  2. Jim Engle-Warnick, 2007. "Five Indefinitely Repeated Games in the Laboratory," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-11, CIRANO.
  3. Timothy N. Cason & Daniel Friedman & Ed Hopkins, 2009. "Testing the TASP: An Experimental Investigation of Learning in Games with Unstable Equilibria," ESE Discussion Papers 188, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  4. García-Gallego, Aurora & Georgantzís, Nikolaos & Jaramillo-Gutiérrez, Ainhoa & Pereira, Pedro & Pernías-Cerrillo, J. Carlos, 2014. "On the evolution of monopoly pricing in Internet-assisted search markets," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(5), pages 795-801.

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