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

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Author Info

  • 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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References

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  1. José Apesteguía & Steffen Huck & Jorg Oechssler, 2003. "Imitation-Theory and Experimental Evidence-," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 0306, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.
  2. Offerman, Theo & Potters, Jan & Sonnemans, Joep, 2002. "Imitation and Belief Learning in an Oligopoly Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 973-97, October.
  3. Fernando Vega Redondo, 1996. "The evolution of walrasian behavior," Working Papers. Serie AD 1996-05, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  4. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 2000. "Does information about competitors' actions increase or decrease competition in experimental oligopoly markets?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 39-57, January.
  5. 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.
  6. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Ana Ania, 2005. "The evolutionary stability of perfectly competitive behavior," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 497-516, October.
  7. M. Kandori & G. Mailath & R. Rob, 1999. "Learning, Mutation and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 500, David K. Levine.
  8. G. Noldeke & L. Samuelson, 2010. "An Evolutionary Analysis of Backward and Forward Induction," Levine's Working Paper Archive 538, David K. Levine.
  9. Selten, Reinhard & Apesteguia, Jose, 2005. "Experimentally observed imitation and cooperation in price competition on the circle," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 171-192, April.
  10. 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.
  11. Yasuhito Tanaka, 1999. "Long run equilibria in an asymmetric oligopoly," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 705-715.
  12. 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.
  13. P. Young, 1999. "The Evolution of Conventions," Levine's Working Paper Archive 485, David K. Levine.
  14. Karl H. Schlag, . "Why Imitate, and if so, How? A Bounded Rational Approach to Multi- Armed Bandits," ELSE working papers 028, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
  15. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  16. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Simon Weidenholzer & Daniel Friedman & Steffen Huck & Ryan Oprea, 2012. "From Imitation to Collusion: Long-run Learning in a Low-Information Environment," Economics Discussion Papers 715, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  2. van Veldhuizen, Roel & Sonnemans, Joep, 2014. "Nonrenewable resources, strategic behavior and the hotelling rule: An experiment," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2014-203, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  3. Peter Duersch & Jörg Oechssler & Burkhard Schipper, 2014. "When is tit-for-tat unbeatable?," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 25-36, February.
  4. Fallucchi, Francesco & Renner, Elke & Sefton, Martin, 2013. "Information feedback and contest structure in rent-seeking games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 223-240.
  5. 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.
  6. Bigoni, Maria & Fort, Margherita, 2013. "Information and Learning in Oligopoly: An Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7125, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Buckert, Magdalena & Oechssler, Jörg & Schwieren, Christiane, 2014. "Imitation under stress," Working Papers 0556, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  8. Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2010. "Feedback, punishment and cooperation in public good experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 689-702, March.
  9. Duersch, Peter & Oechssler, Jörg & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2010. "Unbeatable Imitation," Working Papers 0499, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.

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