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Expedient and Monotone Learning Rules

  • Tilman Börgers
  • Antonio J. Morales
  • Rajiv Sarin

This paper considers learning rules for environments in which little prior and feedback information is available to the decision maker. Two properties of such learning rules are studied: absolute expediency and monotonicity. Both require that some aspect of the decision maker's performance improves from the current period to the next. The paper provides some necessary, and some sufficient conditions for these properties. It turns out that there is a large variety of learning rules that have the properties. However, all learning rules that have these properties are related to the replicator dynamics of evolutionary game theory. For the case in which there are only two actions, it is shown that one of the absolutely expedient learning rules dominates all others. Copyright The Econometric Society 2004.

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Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

Volume (Year): 72 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (03)
Pages: 383-405

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Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:72:y:2004:i:2:p:383-405
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  1. David Easley & Aldo Rustichini, 1999. "Choice without Beliefs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(5), pages 1157-1184, September.
  2. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 1998. "Learning in games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 631-639, May.
  3. Samuelson, L. & Zhang, J., 1990. "Evolutionary Stability In Symmetric Games," Working papers 90-24, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. Rustichini, Aldo, 1999. "Optimal Properties of Stimulus--Response Learning Models," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 244-273, October.
  5. Borgers, Tilman & Sarin, Rajiv, 2000. "Naive Reinforcement Learning with Endogenous Aspirations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(4), pages 921-50, November.
  6. Cross, John G, 1973. "A Stochastic Learning Model of Economic Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 239-66, May.
  7. Tilman B�rgers & Rajiv Sarin, . "Learning Through Reinforcement and Replicator Dynamics," ELSE working papers 051, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
  8. Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
  9. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
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