The local best response criterion: An epistemic approach to equilibrium refinement
The standard refinement criteria for extensive form games, including subgame perfect, perfect, perfect Bayesian, sequential, and proper, reject important classes of reasonable Nash equilibria and accept many unreasonable Nash equilibria. This paper develops a new refinement criterion, based on epistemic game theory, that captures the concept of a Nash equilibrium that is plausible when players are rational. I call this the local best response (LBR) criterion. This criterion is conceptually simpler than the standard refinement criteria because it does not depend on out-of-equilibrium, counterfactual, or passage to the limit arguments. The LBR is also informationally richer because it clarifies the epistemic conditions that render a Nash equilibrium reasonable. The LBR criterion appears to render the traditional refinement criteria superfluous.
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