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Stability of Equilibria in Games with Procedurally Rational Players

  • Sethi, Rajiv

One approach to the modeling of bounded rationality in strategic environments is based on the dynamics of evolution and learning in games. An entirely different approach has been developed recently by Osborne and Rubinstein (1998). This latter approach is static and equilibrium based, but relies on less stringent assumptions regarding the knowledge and understanding of players than does the standard theory of Nash equilibrium. This paper formalizes Osborne and Rubinstein's dynamic interpretation of their equilibrium concept and thereby facilitates a comparison of this approach with the explicitly dynamic approach of evolutionary game theory. It turns out that the two approaches give rise to radically different static and dynamic predictions. For instance, dynamically stable equilibria can involve the playing of strictly dominated actions, and equilibria in which strictly actions are played with probability 1 can be unstable. Sufficient conditions for the instability of equilibria are provided for symmetric and asymmetric games.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 32 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 85-104

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:32:y:2000:i:1:p:85-104
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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  1. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1997. "Games with Procedurally Rational Players," Department of Economics Working Papers 1997-02, McMaster University.
  2. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  3. Ellison, Glenn, 1993. "Learning, Local Interaction, and Coordination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1047-71, September.
  4. Kandori, M. & Mailath, G.J., 1991. "Learning, Mutation, And Long Run Equilibria In Games," Papers 71, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program.
  5. Dekel, Eddie & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1992. "On the evolution of optimizing behavior," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 392-406, August.
  6. Samuelson, Larry & Zhang, Jianbo, 1992. "Evolutionary stability in asymmetric games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 363-391, August.
  7. Simon, Herbert A, 1978. "Rationality as Process and as Product of Thought," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 1-16, May.
  8. Sethi, Rajiv, 1998. "Strategy-Specific Barriers to Learning and Nonmonotonic Selection Dynamics," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 284-304, May.
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