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Uncertain information structures and backward induction

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  • Zuazo-Garin, Peio

Abstract

In everyday economic interactions, it is not clear whether each agent’s sequential choices are visible to other participants or not: agents might be deluded about others’ ability to acquire, interpret or keep track of data. Following this idea, this paper introduces uncertainty about players’ ability to observe each others’ past choices in extensive-form games. In this context, we show that monitoring opponents’ choices does not affect the outcome of the interaction when every player expects their opponents indeed to be monitoring. Specifically, we prove that if players are rational and there is common strong belief in opponents being rational, having perfect information and believing in their own perfect information, then, the backward induction outcome is obtained regardless of which of her opponents’ choices each player observes. The paper examines the constraints on the rationalization process under which reasoning according to Battigalli’s (1996) best rationalization principle yields the same outcome irrespective of whether players observe their opponents’ choices or not. To this respect we find that the obtention of the backward induction outcome crucially depends on tight higher-order restrictions on beliefs about opponents’ perfect information. The analysis provides a new framework for the study of uncertainty about information structures and generalizes the work by Battigalli and Siniscalchi (2002) in this direction.

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  • Zuazo-Garin, Peio, 2017. "Uncertain information structures and backward induction," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 135-151.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:mateco:v:71:y:2017:i:c:p:135-151
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmateco.2017.05.004
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    1. Antonio Penta & Peio Zuazo-Garin, 2022. "Rationalizability, Observability, and Common Knowledge [Player Importance and Forward Induction]," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 89(2), pages 948-975.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Extensive-form games; Perfect information; Incomplete information; Rationality; Backward induction; Forward induction;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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