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Dumbing down rational players : Learning and teaching in an experimental game

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Abstract

This paper uses experimental data to examine the existence of a teaching strategy among bounded rational players. If players realize that their own actions modify their opponent's beliefs and actions, they might play certain actions to this specific end ; and forego immediate payoffs if the expected payoffs if the expected payoff gain from a teaching strategy is high enough. Our results support the existence of a teaching strategy in several ways : First they show that players update their beliefs in order to take account of the reaction of their opponents to their own action. Second, we examine if players actually use a teaching strategy by playing an action that induces a poor immediate payoff but is likely to modify the opponent's behavior so that a preferable outcome might emerge in the future. We find strong evidence of such a strategy in the data and confirm this finding within a logistic model which suggests that the future expected payoff that could arise from a teaching strategy has indeed a significant impact on choice probabilities. Finally, we investigate the effective impact of a teaching strategy on achieved outcomes and find that efficient teachers can successfully use teaching in order to reach their favorite outcome at the expense of their opponents.

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File URL: ftp://mse.univ-paris1.fr/pub/mse/CES2007/Bla07017.pdf
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Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne in its series Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne with number bla07017.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:bla07017

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Keywords: Game theory; teaching; beliefs; experiment.;

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  1. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 1999. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly--An Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages C80-95, March.
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  18. Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bryan McCannon, 2011. "Coordination between a sophisticated and fictitious player," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 102(3), pages 263-273, April.
  2. Dietmar Fehr & Dorothea Kübler & David Danz, 2010. "Information and Beliefs in a Repeated Normal-form Game," CIG Working Papers SP II 2010-02, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  3. Kyle Hyndman & Antoine Terracol & Jonathan Vaksmann, 2009. "Learning and sophistication in coordination games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 450-472, December.
  4. Timothy Cason & Sau-Him Lau & Vai-Lam Mui, 2013. "Learning, teaching, and turn taking in the repeated assignment game," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 335-357, October.
  5. Mengel, Friederike, 2008. "Learning by (limited) forward looking players," Research Memorandum 053, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  6. repec:hal:cesptp:hal-00607238 is not listed on IDEAS

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