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Probability matching and reinforcement learning

  • Rivas, Javier

Probability matching occurs when an action is chosen with a frequency equivalent to the probability of that action being the best choice. This sub-optimal behavior has been reported repeatedly by psychologists and experimental economists. We provide an evolutionary foundation for this phenomenon by showing that learning by reinforcement can lead to probability matching and, if the learning occurs sufficiently slowly, probability matching does not only occur in choice frequencies but also in choice probabilities. Our results are completed by proving that there exists no quasi-linear reinforcement learning specification such that the behavior is optimal for all environments where counterfactuals are observed.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Mathematical Economics.

Volume (Year): 49 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 17-21

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Handle: RePEc:eee:mateco:v:49:y:2013:i:1:p:17-21
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jmateco

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  1. T. Borgers & R. Sarin, 2010. "Naïve Reinforcement Learning With Endogenous Aspirations," Levine's Working Paper Archive 381, David K. Levine.
  2. Kosfeld, Michael & Droste, Edward & Voorneveld, Mark, 2002. "A myopic adjustment process leading to best-reply matching," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 270-298, August.
  3. Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
  4. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
  5. Samuelson Larry, 1994. "Stochastic Stability in Games with Alternative Best Replies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 35-65, October.
  6. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
  7. Rubinstein, Ariel, 2002. "Irrational diversification in multiple decision problems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1369-1378, September.
  8. Javier Rivas, 2008. "Learning within a Markovian Environment," Economics Working Papers ECO2008/13, European University Institute.
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