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Bounds for best response functions in binary games

  • Kline, Brendan
  • Tamer, Elie

This paper studies the identification of best response functions in binary games without making strong parametric assumptions about the payoffs. The best response function gives the utility maximizing response to a decision of the other players. This is analogous to the response function in the treatment–response literature, taking the decision of the other players as the treatment, except that the best response function has additional structure implied by the associated utility maximization problem. Further, the relationship between the data and the best response function is not the same as the relationship between the data and the response function in the treatment–response literature. We focus especially on the case of a complete information entry game with two firms. We also discuss the case of an entry game with many firms, non-entry games, and incomplete information. Our analysis of the entry game is based on the observation of realized entry decisions, which we then link to the best response functions under various assumptions including those concerning the level of rationality of the firms, including the assumption of Nash equilibrium play, the symmetry of the payoffs between firms, and whether mixed strategies are admitted.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 166 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 92-105

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Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:166:y:2012:i:1:p:92-105
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