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Sequential equilibrium in monotone games: A theory-based analysis of experimental data

  • Choi, Syngjoo
  • Gale, Douglas
  • Kariv, Shachar

A monotone game is an extensive-form game with complete information, simultaneous moves and an irreversibility structure on strategies. It captures a variety of situations in which players make partial commitments and allows us to characterize conditions under which equilibria result in socially desirable outcomes. However, since the game has many equilibrium outcomes, the theory lacks predictive power. To produce stronger predictions, one can restrict attention to the set of sequential equilibria, or Markov equilibria, or symmetric equilibria, or pure-strategy equilibria. This paper explores the relationship between equilibrium behavior in a class of monotone games, namely voluntary contribution games, and the behavior of human subjects in an experimental setting. Several key features of the symmetric Markov perfect equilibrium (SMPE) are consistent with the data. To judge how well the SMPE fits the data, we estimate a model of Quantal Response Equilibrium (QRE) [R. McKelvey, T. Palfrey, Quantal response equilibria for normal form games, Games Econ. Behav. 10 (1995) 6-38; R. McKelvey, T. Palfrey, Quantal response equilibria for extensive form games, Exp. Econ. 1 (1998) 9-41] and find that the decision rules of the QRE model are qualitatively very similar to the empirical choice probabilities.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 143 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (November)
Pages: 302-330

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:143:y:2008:i:1:p:302-330
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  1. Richard Mckelvey & Thomas Palfrey, 1998. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Extensive Form Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 9-41, June.
  2. Aumann, Robert J. & Sorin, Sylvain, 1989. "Cooperation and bounded recall," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 5-39, March.
  3. Leslie M. Marx & Steven A. Matthews, 2000. "Dynamic Voluntary Contribution to a Public Project," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(2), pages 327-358.
  4. R. McKelvey & T. Palfrey, 2010. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 510, David K. Levine.
  5. Roger Lagunoff & Akihiko Matsui, . ""An 'Anti-Folk Theorem' for a Class of Asynchronously Repeated Games''," CARESS Working Papres 95-15, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  6. Lise Vesterlund & John Duffy & Jack Ochs, 2004. "Giving Little by Little: Dynamic Voluntary Contribution Games," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 402, Econometric Society.
  7. Anat R. Admati & Motty Perry, 1991. "Joint Projects without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 259-276.
  8. Gale, Douglas, 1995. "Dynamic Coordination Games," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 1-18, January.
  9. Gale, Douglas, 1998. "Monotone Games with Positive Spillovers," Working Papers 98-34, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  10. James Andreoni, 1998. "Toward a Theory of Charitable Fund-Raising," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1186-1213, December.
  11. Bagnoli, Mark & Lipman, Barton L, 1992. " Private Provision of Public Goods Can Be Efficient," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 59-78, July.
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