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Learning, hypothesis testing, and Nash equilibrium

  • Foster, Dean P.
  • Young, H. Peyton

Although there exist learning processes for which the empirical distribution of play comes close to Nash equilibrium it is an open question whether the players themselves can learn to play equilibrium strategies without assuming that they have prior knowledge of their opponents' strategies and/or payoffs We exhibit a large class of statistical hypotheses testing procedures that solve this problem Consider a finite stage game G that is repeated infinitely often At each time the players have hypotheses about their opponents' repeated game strategies They frequently test their hypotheses against the opponents' recent actions When a hypotheses fails test a new one is adopted Play is almost rational in the sense that at each point of time the players' strategies are є -best replies to their beliefs We show that at least 1 - є of the time t these hypotheses testing strategies constitute an є-equilibrium of the repeated game from t on; in fact the strategies are close to being subgame perfect for long stretches of time Further all players for whom prediction matters ie whose best responses depend on the opponents' behavior learn to predict within є

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

Volume (Year): 45 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 73-96

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:45:y:2003:i:1:p:73-96
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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  1. Sergiu Hart & Andreu Mas-Colell, 1999. "A general class of adaptative strategies," Economics Working Papers 373, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. Dean Foster & H Peyton Young, 1999. "On the Impossibility of Predicting the Behavior of Rational Agents," Economics Working Paper Archive 423, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Jun 2001.
  3. Kalai, Ehud & Lehrer, Ehud, 1993. "Rational Learning Leads to Nash Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1019-45, September.
  4. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1996. "An Easier Way to Calibrate," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2059, David K. Levine.
  5. Nyarko, Yaw, 1994. "Bayesian Learning Leads to Correlated Equilibria in Normal Form Games," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(6), pages 821-41, October.
  6. Foster, Dean P. & Vohra, Rakesh, 1999. "Regret in the On-Line Decision Problem," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 7-35, October.
  7. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K., 1999. "Conditional Universal Consistency," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 104-130, October.
  8. Foster, Dean P. & Vohra, Rakesh V., 1997. "Calibrated Learning and Correlated Equilibrium," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 40-55, October.
  9. Sergiu Hart & Andreu Mas-Colell, 2000. "A Simple Adaptive Procedure Leading to Correlated Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1127-1150, September.
  10. John H. Nachbar, 1997. "Prediction, Optimization, and Learning in Repeated Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 275-310, March.
  11. John H. Nachbar, 2001. "Bayesian learning in repeated games of incomplete information," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 303-326.
  12. Foster, Dean P., 1999. "A Proof of Calibration via Blackwell's Approachability Theorem," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 73-78, October.
  13. Ronald Miller & Chris Sanchirico, . "Almost Everybody Disagrees Almost All the Time: The Genericity of Weakly Merging Nowhere," Scholarship at Penn Law upenn_wps-1001, University of Pennsylvania Law School.
  14. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1991. "Adaptive and sophisticated learning in normal form games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 82-100, February.
  15. Jeheil Phillippe, 1995. "Limited Horizon Forecast in Repeated Alternate Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 497-519, December.
  16. Jordan J. S., 1993. "Three Problems in Learning Mixed-Strategy Nash Equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 368-386, July.
  17. Monderer, Dov & Shapley, Lloyd S., 1996. "Potential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 124-143, May.
  18. Jordan J. S., 1995. "Bayesian Learning in Repeated Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 8-20, April.
  19. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
  20. Foster, Dean P. & Young, H. Peyton, 1998. "On the Nonconvergence of Fictitious Play in Coordination Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 79-96, October.
  21. Dean Foster & Peyton Young, . "Learning with Hazy Beliefs," ELSE working papers 023, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
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