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The local best response criterion: An epistemic approach to equilibrium refinement

  • Gintis, Herbert

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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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 71 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 89-97

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:71:y:2009:i:2:p:89-97
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. E. Kohlberg & J.-F. Mertens, 1998. "On the Strategic Stability of Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 445, David K. Levine.
  2. David M Kreps & Robert Wilson, 2003. "Sequential Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000813, David K. Levine.
  3. Blume, Lawrence E & Zame, William R, 1994. "The Algebraic Geometry of Perfect and Sequential Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 783-94, July.
  4. Carlsson, H. & Van Damme, E., 1990. "Global Games And Equilibrium Selection," Papers 9052, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  5. Rosenthal, Robert W., 1981. "Games of perfect information, predatory pricing and the chain-store paradox," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 92-100, August.
  6. McLennan, Andrew, 1985. "Justifiable Beliefs in Sequential Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 889-904, July.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521772518 is not listed on IDEAS
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  9. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, June.
  10. Binmore, Ken & Samuelson, Larry, 2006. "The evolution of focal points," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 21-42, April.
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