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Stated versus inferred beliefs: A methodological inquiry and experimental test

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  • Rutstrom, E. Elizabet
  • Wilcox, Nathaniel

Abstract

If asking subjects their beliefs during repeated game play changes the way those subjects play, using those stated beliefs to evaluate and compare theories of strategic behavior is problematic. We experimentally verify that belief elicitation can alter paths of play in a repeated asymmetric matching pennies game. In this setting, belief elicitation improves the goodness of fit of structural models of belief learning, and the prior beliefs implied by such structural models are both stronger and more realistic when beliefs are elicited than when they are not. These effects are, however, confined to the player type who sees a strong asymmetry between payoff possibilities for her two strategies in the game. We also find that “inferred beliefs” (beliefs estimated from past observed actions of opponents) can be better predictors of observed actions than the “stated beliefs” resulting from belief elicitation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 11852.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11852

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Keywords: beliefs; stated beliefs; belief elicitation; inferred beliefs; estimated beliefs; belief updating; repeated games; experimental methods;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lora R. Todorova & Siegfried K. Berninghaus & Bodo Vogt, 2011. "A Simple Questionnaire Can Change Everything - Are Strategy Choices in Coordination Games Stable?," FEMM Working Papers 110019, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  2. Al-Ubaydli, Omar & Lee, Min Sok, 2009. "An experimental study of asymmetric reciprocity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 738-749, November.
  3. Terracol, Antoine & Vaksmann, Jonathan, 2009. "Dumbing down rational players: Learning and teaching in an experimental game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 54-71, May.
  4. Fehr, Dietmar & Kübler, Dorothea & Danz, David N., 2008. "Information and Beliefs in a Repeated Normal-Form Game," IZA Discussion Papers 3627, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Karl Schlag & Joël van der Weele, 2009. "Efficient interval scoring rules," Economics Working Papers 1176, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  6. Alex Possajennikov, 2012. "Belief Formation in a Signalling Game without Common Prior: An Experiment," Discussion Papers 2012-06, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  7. Alexander Smith, 2012. "Comment on social preferences, beliefs, and the dynamics of free riding in public good experiments," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(1), pages 923-931.
  8. Berninghaus, Siegfried K. & Todorova, Lora & Vogt, Bodo, 2011. "A simple questionnaire can change everything: Are strategy choices in coordination games stable?," Working Paper Series in Economics 37, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
  9. Siegfried K. Berninghaus & Lora Todorova & Bodo Vogt, 2011. "A Simple Questionnaire Can Change Everything - Are Strategy Choices in Coordination Games Stable?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-057, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.

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