IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Information and learning in oligopoly: An experiment

  • Bigoni, Maria
  • Fort, Margherita

This paper presents an experiment on learning in repeated games, which complements the analysis of playersʼ actual choices with data on the information acquisition process they follow. Subjects play a repeated Cournot oligopoly, with limited a priori information. The econometrics hinges on a model built upon Experience Weighted Attraction learning, and the simultaneous analysis of data on the information gathered and on actions taken by the subjects. Results suggest that learning is a composite process, in which different components coexist. Adaptive learning emerges as the leading element, but when subjects look at the strategies individually adopted by their competitors they tend to imitate the most successful behavior, which makes markets more competitive. Reinforcement learning also plays a role, as subjects favor strategies that have yielded higher profits in the past.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

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

Volume (Year): 81 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 192-214

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:81:y:2013:i:c:p:192-214
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Miguel Costa-Gomes & Vincent P. Crawford & Bruno Broseta, . "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games:An Experimental Study," Discussion Papers 00/45, Department of Economics, University of York.
  2. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
  3. Jose Apesteguia & Steffen Huck & Jörg Oechssler & Simon Weidenholzer, 2008. "Imitation and the Evolution of Walrasian Behavior: Theoretically Fragile but Behaviorally Robust," CESifo Working Paper Series 2224, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Carlos Alós-Ferrer, 2001. "Cournot versus Walras in Dynamic Oligopolies with Memory," Vienna Economics Papers 0110, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  5. Apesteguia, Jose & Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jorg, 2007. "Imitation--theory and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 217-235, September.
  6. Miguel Costa-Gomes & Vincent P. Crawford, 2004. "Cognition And Behavior In Two-Person Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000143, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson & Guillermo Moloche & Stephen Weinberg, 2006. "Costly Information Acquisition: Experimental Analysis of a Boundedly Rational Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1043-1068, September.
  8. Fernando Vega Redondo, 1996. "The evolution of walrasian behavior," Working Papers. Serie AD 1996-05, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  9. Theo Offerman & Jan Potters & Joep Sonnemans, 2002. "Imitation and Belief Learning in an Oligopoly Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 973-997.
  10. Friedman, Daniel & Huck, Steffen & Oprea, Ryan & Weidenholzer, Simon, 2012. "From imitation to collusion: Long-run learning in a low-information environment," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2012-301, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  11. Waltman, Ludo & Kaymak, Uzay, 2008. "Q-learning agents in a Cournot oligopoly model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 3275-3293, October.
  12. Rand, David G & Fudenberg, Drew & Dreber, Anna, 2012. "Slow to Anger and Fast to Forgive: Cooperation in an Uncertain World," Scholarly Articles 11223697, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Vincent P. Crawford, 2006. "Look-ups as the Windows of the Strategic Soul: Studying Cognition via Information Search in Game Experiments," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000517, UCLA Department of Economics.
  14. Pedro Dal Bó, 2002. "Cooperation Under the Shadow of the Future: Experimental Evidence from Infinitely Repeated Games," Working Papers 2002-20, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  15. Bigoni, Maria & Fort, Margherita, 2013. "Information and learning in oligopoly: An experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 192-214.
  16. Anders Skrondal & Sophia Rabe-Hesketh, 2007. "Latent Variable Modelling: A Survey," Scandinavian Journal of Statistics, Danish Society for Theoretical Statistics;Finnish Statistical Society;Norwegian Statistical Association;Swedish Statistical Association, vol. 34(4), pages 712-745.
  17. Selten,Reinhard & Mitzkewitz,Michael & Uhlich,Gerald, . "Duopoly strategies programmed by experienced players," Discussion Paper Serie B 106, University of Bonn, Germany.
  18. Hans-Theo Normann & Brian Wallace, 2012. "The impact of the termination rule on cooperation in a prisoner’s dilemma experiment," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 707-718, August.
  19. Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
  20. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  21. Bigoni, Maria, 2010. "What do you want to know? Information acquisition and learning in experimental Cournot games," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 1-17, March.
  22. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Jörg Oechssler, 2000. "Trial & Error to Collusion - The Discrete Case," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse6_2000, University of Bonn, Germany.
  23. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 2010. "Adaptive and Sophisticated Learning in Repeated Normal-Form Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 418, David K. Levine.
  24. Stahl, Dale O., 1996. "Boundedly Rational Rule Learning in a Guessing Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 303-330, October.
  25. Antoni Bosch-DomËnech & Nicolaas J. Vriend, 2003. "Imitation of successful behaviour in cournot markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 495-524, 04.
  26. Camerer, Colin & Ho, Teck-Hua, 1997. "Experience-Weighted Attraction Learning in Games: A Unifying Approach," Working Papers 1003, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  27. Gabriele Camera & Marco Casari, 2009. "Cooperation among Strangers under the Shadow of the Future," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 979-1005, June.
  28. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1997. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly - An Experiment," Game Theory and Information 9707009, EconWPA, revised 22 Jul 1997.
  29. 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.
  30. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 2004. "Through Trial and Error to Collusion," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(1), pages 205-224, 02.
  31. repec:oup:restud:v:69:y:2002:i:4:p:973-97 is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Ho, Teck H. & Camerer, Colin F. & Chong, Juin-Kuan, 2007. "Self-tuning experience weighted attraction learning in games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 177-198, March.
  33. Rassenti, Stephen & Reynolds, Stanley S. & Smith, Vernon L. & Szidarovszky, Ferenc, 2000. "Adaptation and convergence of behavior in repeated experimental Cournot games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 117-146, February.
  34. Timothy C. Salmon, 2001. "An Evaluation of Econometric Models of Adaptive Learning," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1597-1628, November.
  35. Schaffer, Mark E., 1989. "Are profit-maximisers the best survivors? : A Darwinian model of economic natural selection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 29-45, August.
  36. TeckH. Ho & Xin Wang & ColinF. Camerer, 2008. "Individual Differences in EWA Learning with Partial Payoff Information," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(525), pages 37-59, 01.
  37. Pedro Dal Bo & Guillaume R. Frochette, 2011. "The Evolution of Cooperation in Infinitely Repeated Games: Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 411-29, February.
  38. Engle-Warnick, J. & Slonim, Robert L., 2006. "Learning to trust in indefinitely repeated games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 95-114, January.
  39. Johnson, Eric J. & Camerer, Colin & Sen, Sankar & Rymon, Talia, 2002. "Detecting Failures of Backward Induction: Monitoring Information Search in Sequential Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 16-47, May.
  40. Monderer, Dov & Shapley, Lloyd S., 1996. "Potential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 124-143, May.
  41. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:81:y:2013:i:c:p:192-214. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.