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Predicting human behavior in unrepeated, simultaneous-move games

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  • Wright, James R.
  • Leyton-Brown, Kevin

Abstract

It is commonly assumed that agents will adopt Nash equilibrium strategies; however, experimental studies have demonstrated that this is often a poor description of human players' behavior in unrepeated normal-form games. We analyze five widely studied models of human behavior: Quantal Response Equilibrium, Level-k, Cognitive Hierarchy, QLk, and Noisy Introspection. We performed what we believe is the most comprehensive meta-analysis of these models, leveraging ten datasets from the literature recording human play of two-player games. We first evaluated predictive performance, asking how well each model fits unseen test data using parameters calibrated from separate training data. The QLk model (Stahl and Wilson, 1994) consistently achieved the best performance. Using a Bayesian analysis, we found that QLk's estimated parameter values were not consistent with their intended economic interpretations. Finally, we evaluated model variants similar to QLk, identifying one (Camerer et al., 2016) that achieves better predictive performance with fewer parameters.

Suggested Citation

  • Wright, James R. & Leyton-Brown, Kevin, 2017. "Predicting human behavior in unrepeated, simultaneous-move games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 16-37.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:16-37
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2017.09.009
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    2. Yuhong Xu & Shih-Fen Cheng & Xinyu Chen, 2023. "Improving Quantal Cognitive Hierarchy Model Through Iterative Population Learning," Papers 2302.06033, arXiv.org, revised Feb 2023.
    3. Philipp Külpmann & Christoph Kuzmics, 2019. "On the Predictive Power of Theories of One-Shot Play," Graz Economics Papers 2019-09, University of Graz, Department of Economics.
    4. Külpmann, Philipp & Kuzmics, Christoph, 2022. "Comparing theories of one-shot play out of treatment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 205(C).
    5. Dimitris Batzilis & Sonia Jaffe & Steven Levitt & John A. List & Jeffrey Picel, 2019. "Behavior in Strategic Settings: Evidence from a Million Rock-Paper-Scissors Games," Games, MDPI, vol. 10(2), pages 1-34, April.
    6. Christoph Kuzmics & Daniel Rodenburger, 2020. "A case of evolutionarily stable attainable equilibrium in the laboratory," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 70(3), pages 685-721, October.
    7. Ge, Ge & Godager, Geir, 2021. "Predicting strategic medical choices: An application of a quantal response equilibrium choice model," Journal of choice modelling, Elsevier, vol. 39(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Behavioral game theory; Bounded rationality; Game theory; Cognitive models; Prediction;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General

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