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Imitation with intention and memory: An experiment


  • Matthey, Astrid


The experiment described in this paper analyzes imitation in an individual learning context. It supplements the results obtained for imitation in evolutionary processes. The paper makes three main contributions. First, it provides a clear distinction between intentional imitation and genuine learning. Second, it shows that players consider more than just last period's performance when choosing imitation examples. This contrasts with the assumption in most theoretical and experimental research. Third, since the design makes imitation explicit, it allows a detailed analysis of imitation behavior, showing that players do not imitate rationally.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthey, Astrid, 2010. "Imitation with intention and memory: An experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 585-594, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:39:y:2010:i:5:p:585-594

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Levine, David K. & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 2007. "The evolution of cooperation through imitation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 293-315, February.
    2. Schlag, Karl H., 1999. "Which one should I imitate?," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 493-522, May.
    3. Schlag, Karl H., 1998. "Why Imitate, and If So, How?, : A Boundedly Rational Approach to Multi-armed Bandits," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 130-156, January.
    4. Alos-Ferrer, Carlos, 2004. "Cournot versus Walras in dynamic oligopolies with memory," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 193-217, February.
    5. Antoni Bosch-DomËnech & Nicolaas J. Vriend, 2003. "Imitation of successful behaviour in cournot markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 495-524, April.
    6. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 1999. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly--An Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages 80-95, March.
    7. Fudenberg, Drew & Imhof, Lorens A., 2006. "Imitation processes with small mutations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 131(1), pages 251-262, November.
    8. Altavilla, Carlo & Luini, Luigi & Sbriglia, Patrizia, 2006. "Social learning in market games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(4), pages 632-652, December.
    9. James Bergin & Dan Bernhardt, 1999. "Comparative Dynamics," Working Papers 981, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    10. Josephson, Jens & Matros, Alexander, 2004. "Stochastic imitation in finite games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 244-259, November.
    11. David K Levine & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2005. "Evolution of Cooperation Through Imitation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7630, David K. Levine.
    12. Selten, Reinhard & Apesteguia, Jose, 2005. "Experimentally observed imitation and cooperation in price competition on the circle," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 171-192, April.
    13. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1997. "The Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 375-384, March.
    14. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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    More about this item


    Imitation Learning Experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness


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