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When Should Political Scientists Use the Self-Confirming Equilibrium Concept? Benefits, Costs, and an Application to Jury Theorems

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  • Lupia, Arthur
  • Levine, Adam Seth
  • Zharinova, Natasha

Abstract

Many claims about political behavior are based on implicit assumptions about how people think. One such assumption, that political actors use identical conjectures when assessing others’ strategies, is nested within applications of widely-used game theoretic equilibrium concepts. When empirical research calls this assumption into question, the self-confirming equilibrium (SCE) concept is an alternate criterion for deriving theoretical claims. Using a series of examples, we examine opportunities and challenges inherent in applying the SCE concept. Our main example focuses on Feddersen and Pesendorfer’s (1998) claim that unanimity rules can lead juries to convict innocent defendants. Using SCE, we show that the claim depends on the assumption that jurors have identical beliefs about one another’s strategies. When juror beliefs vary in ways that follow from empirical jury research, we show that fewer false convictions can occur in equilibrium. Generally, the SCE confers advantages when actors have different conjectures about one another’s strategies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 8643.

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Date of creation: 07 May 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8643

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Keywords: jury decision making; self-confirming equilibrium; jury theorem; game theory; political science;

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  1. Aumann, Robert & Brandenburger, Adam, 1995. "Epistemic Conditions for Nash Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(5), pages 1161-80, September.
  2. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1984. "Rationalizable Strategic Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 1007-28, July.
  3. Dekel, Eddie & Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K., 1999. "Payoff Information and Self-Confirming Equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 165-185, December.
  4. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1996. "The Theory of Learning in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 624, David K. Levine.
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  6. Harsanyi, John C, 1995. "Games with Incomplete Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 291-303, June.
  7. Dekel, Eddie & Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 2004. "Learning to Play Bayesian Games," Scholarly Articles 3200612, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Fudenberg, Drew & Kreps, David M., 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games I. Self-confirming equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 20-55.
  9. Govindan, Srihari & Wilson, Robert B., 2005. "Refinements of Nash Equilibrium," Research Papers 1897, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  10. R. Aumann, 2010. "Subjectivity and Correlation in Randomized Strategies," Levine's Working Paper Archive 389, David K. Levine.
  11. Fudenberg, D. & Levine, D.K., 1991. "Self-Confirming Equilibrium ," Working papers 581, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Convicting the Innocent: The Inferiority of Unanimous Jury Verdicts," Discussion Papers 1170, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  13. 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.
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