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Imitation and the Evolution of Walrasian Behavior: Theoretically Fragile but Behaviorally Robust

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  • Apesteguia, Jose

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

  • Huck, Steffen

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University College London)

  • Oechssler, Jörg

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Heidelberg)

  • Weidenholzer, Simon

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Vienna)

Abstract

A well-known result by Vega-Redondo implies that in symmetric Cournot oligopoly, imitation leads to the Walrasian outcome where price equals marginal cost. In this paper we show that this result is not robust to the slightest asymmetry in fixed costs. Instead of obtaining the Walrasian outcome as unique prediction, every outcome where agents choose identical actions will be played some fraction of the time in the long run. We then conduct experiments to check this fragility. We obtain that, contrary to the theoretical prediction, the Walrasian outcome is still a good predictor of behavior.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim in its series Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications with number 07-69.

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Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: 05 Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:07-69

Note: Financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.
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  1. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
  2. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1997. "The Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 375-384, March.
  3. Karl H. Schlag, 1995. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? A Bounded Rational Approach to Multi-Armed Bandits," Discussion Paper Serie B 361, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Mar 1996.
  4. Apestgeguia, Jose & Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jörg, 2005. "Imitation - Theory and Experimental Evidence," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 54, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  5. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Ana Ania, 2005. "The evolutionary stability of perfectly competitive behavior," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 497-516, October.
  6. Theo Offerman & Jan Potters & Joep Sonnemans, 1997. "Imitation and Belief Learning in an Oligopoly Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-116/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  7. Abbink, Klaus & Brandts, Jordi, 2008. "24. Pricing in Bertrand competition with increasing marginal costs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-31, May.
  8. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1997. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly - An Experiment," Game Theory and Information 9707009, EconWPA, revised 22 Jul 1997.
  9. Reinhard Selten & Jose Apesteguia, 2002. "Experimentally Observed Imitation and Cooperation in Price Competition on the Circle," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse19_2002, University of Bonn, Germany.
  10. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  11. P. Young, 1999. "The Evolution of Conventions," Levine's Working Paper Archive 485, David K. Levine.
  12. Noeldecke,Georg & Samuelson,Larry, . "An evolutionary analysis of backward and forward induction," Discussion Paper Serie B 228, University of Bonn, Germany.
  13. Yasuhito Tanaka, 1999. "Long run equilibria in an asymmetric oligopoly," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 705-715.
  14. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  15. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1998. "Does information about competitors' actions increase or decrease competition in experimental oligopoly markets?," Industrial Organization 9803004, EconWPA.
  16. Schlag, Karl H., 1994. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? Exploring a Model of Social Evolution," Discussion Paper Serie B 296, University of Bonn, Germany.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Friedman, Daniel & Huck, Steffen & Oprea, Ryan & Weidenholzer, Simon, 2012. "From imitation to collusion: Long-run learning in a low-information environment," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2012-301r, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  2. Duersch, Peter & Oechssler, Joerg & Schipper, Burkhard C, 2010. "Unbeatable Imitation," MPRA Paper 20856, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Bigoni, Maria & Fort, Margherita, 2013. "Information and Learning in Oligopoly: An Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7125, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Peter Duersch & Joerg Oechssler & Burkhard Schipper, 2013. "When is Tit-For-Tat unbeatable?," Working Papers 131, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  5. Nikos Nikiforakis, 2008. "Feedback; Punishment and Cooperation in Public Good Experiments," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1036, The University of Melbourne.
  6. Bigoni, Maria & Fort, Margherita, 2013. "Information and learning in oligopoly: An experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 192-214.
  7. Duersch, Peter & Oechssler, Jörg & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2012. "Once Beaten, Never Again: Imitation in Two-Player Potential Games," Working Papers 0529, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  8. Francesco Fallucchi & Elke Renner & Martin Sefton, 2012. "Information Feedback and Contest Structure in Rent-Seeking Games," Discussion Papers 2012-12, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  9. Khan Abhimanyu & Peeters Ronald, 2011. "Evolution of behavior when duopolists choose prices and quantities," Research Memorandum 027, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).

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