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Higher order game dynamics


  • Laraki, Rida
  • Mertikopoulos, Panayotis


Continuous-time game dynamics are typically first order systems where payoffs determine the growth rate of the playersʼ strategy shares. In this paper, we investigate what happens beyond first order by viewing payoffs as higher order forces of change, specifying e.g. the acceleration of the playersʼ evolution instead of its velocity (a viewpoint which emerges naturally when it comes to aggregating empirical data of past instances of play). To that end, we derive a wide class of higher order game dynamics, generalizing first order imitative dynamics, and, in particular, the replicator dynamics. We show that strictly dominated strategies become extinct in n-th order payoff-monotonic dynamics n orders as fast as in the corresponding first order dynamics; furthermore, in stark contrast to first order, weakly dominated strategies also become extinct for n⩾2. All in all, higher order payoff-monotonic dynamics lead to the elimination of weakly dominated strategies, followed by the iterated deletion of strictly dominated strategies, thus providing a dynamic justification of the well-known epistemic rationalizability process of Dekel and Fudenberg [7]. Finally, we also establish a higher order analogue of the folk theorem of evolutionary game theory, and we show that convergence to strict equilibria in n-th order dynamics is n orders as fast as in first order.

Suggested Citation

  • Laraki, Rida & Mertikopoulos, Panayotis, 2013. "Higher order game dynamics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(6), pages 2666-2695.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:148:y:2013:i:6:p:2666-2695 DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2013.08.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:dau:papers:123456789/1014 is not listed on IDEAS
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    3. Ritzberger, Klaus & Weibull, Jorgen W, 1995. "Evolutionary Selection in Normal-Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1371-1399, November.
    4. Sandholm, William H. & DokumacI, Emin & Lahkar, Ratul, 2008. "The projection dynamic and the replicator dynamic," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 666-683, November.
    5. Sandholm, William H. & Hofbauer, Josef, 2011. "Survival of dominated strategies under evolutionary dynamics," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(3), September.
    6. Dekel, Eddie & Fudenberg, Drew, 1990. "Rational behavior with payoff uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 243-267, December.
    7. Samuelson, Larry & Zhang, Jianbo, 1992. "Evolutionary stability in asymmetric games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 363-391, August.
    8. Fudenberg, D. & Harris, C., 1992. "Evolutionary dynamics with aggregate shocks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 420-441, August.
    9. Balkenborg, Dieter & Hofbauer, Josef & Kuzmics, Christoph, 2016. "Refined best reply correspondence and dynamics," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 451, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
    10. Gilboa, Itzhak & Matsui, Akihiko, 1991. "Social Stability and Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 859-867, May.
    11. Rustichini, Aldo, 1999. "Optimal Properties of Stimulus--Response Learning Models," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 244-273, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yannick Viossat, 2015. "Evolutionary dynamics and dominated strategies," Economic Theory Bulletin, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 3(1), pages 91-113, April.
    2. Bernergård, Axel & Mohlin, Erik, 2017. "Evolutionary Selection against Iteratively Weakly Dominated Strategies," Working Papers 2017:18, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    3. Sandholm, William H., 2015. "Population Games and Deterministic Evolutionary Dynamics," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, Elsevier.
    4. Panayotis Mertikopoulos & Yannick Viossat, 2016. "Imitation dynamics with payoff shocks," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 45(1), pages 291-320, March.

    More about this item


    Game dynamics; Higher order dynamical systems; (Weakly) dominated strategies; Learning; Replicator dynamics; Stability of equilibria;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • C62 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Existence and Stability Conditions of Equilibrium
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games


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