A dynamic epistemic characterization of backward induction without counterfactuals
We propose a dynamic framework where the rationality of a playerʼs choice is judged on the basis of the actual beliefs that he has at the time he makes that choice. The set of “possible worlds” is given by state-instant pairs (ω,t), where each state specifies the entire play of the game. At every (ω,t) the beliefs of the active player provide an answer to the question “what will happen if I take action a?”, for every available action a. A player is rational at (ω,t) if either he is not active or the action he takes is optimal given his beliefs. We characterize backward induction in terms of the following event: the first mover (i) is rational and has correct beliefs, (ii) believes that the active player at date 1 is rational and has correct beliefs, (iii) believes that the active player at date 1 believes that the active player at date 2 is rational and has correct beliefs, etc.
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