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Imitation processes with small mutations

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  • Fudenberg, Drew
  • Imhof, Lorens A.

Abstract

This note characterizes the impact of adding rare stochastic mutations to an “imitation dynamic,†meaning a process with the properties that absent strategies remain absent, and non-homogeneous states are transient. The resulting system will spend almost all of its time at the absorbing states of the no-mutation process. The work of Freidlin and Wentzell [Random Perturbations of Dynamical Systems, Springer, New York, 1984] and its extensions provide a general algorithm for calculating the limit distribution, but this algorithm can be complicated to apply. This note provides a simpler and more intuitive algorithm. Loosely speaking, in a process with K strategies, it is sufficient to find the invariant distribution of a K×K Markov matrix on the K homogeneous states, where the probability of a transit from “all play i†to “all play j†is the probability of a transition from the state “all agents but 1 play i, 1 plays j†to the state “all play j†.
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Suggested Citation

  • Fudenberg, Drew & Imhof, Lorens A., 2006. "Imitation processes with small mutations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 131(1), pages 251-262, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:131:y:2006:i:1:p:251-262
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