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Learning in and about Games

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  • Anke Gerber
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    Abstract

    We study finitely repeated 2 / 2 normal form games, where players have incomplete information about their opponents’ payoffs. In a laboratory experiment we investigate whether players (a) learn the game they are playing, (b) learn to predict the behavior of their opponent, and (c) learn to play according to a Nash equilibrium of the repeated game. Our results show that the success in learning the opponent’s type depends on the characteristics of the true game. The learning success is much higher for games with pure strategy Nash equilibria than for games with a unique mixed strategy Nash equilibrium, and it is higher for games with symmetric pure strategy Nash equilibria than for games with asymmetric equilibria. Moreover, subjects learn to predict the opponents’ behavior very well. However, they rarely play according to a Nash equilibrium and we observe no correlation between equilibrium play and learning about the game.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 234.

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    Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:234

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    Keywords: Learning; game theory; incomplete information; experiments;

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    1. Cooper, Russell & De Jong, Douglas V. & Forsythe, Robert & Ross, Thomas W., 1992. "Forward induction in coordination games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 167-172, October.
    2. John H. Nachbar, 1995. "Prediction, Optimization, and Learning in Repeated Games," Game Theory and Information 9504001, EconWPA, revised 14 Feb 1996.
    3. Cox, James C. & Shachat, Jason & Walker, Mark, 2001. "An Experiment to Evaluate Bayesian Learning of Nash Equilibrium Play," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 11-33, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. 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).

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