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Why Imitate, and If So, How?, : A Boundedly Rational Approach to Multi-armed Bandits

  • Schlag, Karl H.

We consider the situation in which individuals in a finite population must repeatedly choose an action yielding an uncertain payoff. Between choices, each individual may observe the performance of one other individual. We search for rules of behavior with limited memory that increase expected pay-off s for any underlying payoff distribution. It is shown that the rule that outperforms all other rules with this property is the one that specifies imita-tion of the action of an individual that performed better with a probability proportional to how much better she performed. When each individual uses this best rule, the aggregate population behavior can be approximated by the replicator dynamic.

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

Volume (Year): 78 (1998)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 130-156

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:78:y:1998:i:1:p:130-156
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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  1. Dan Friedman, 2010. "Evolutionary Games in Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 392, David K. Levine.
  2. M. Kandori & G. Mailath & R. Rob, 1999. "Learning, Mutation and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 500, David K. Levine.
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