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Some Experimental Games


  • Merrill M. Flood

    (The University of Michigan)


This paper reports the results of six experiments and analyses performed to explore the applicability of the non-constant-sum case of the theories of von Neumann-Morgenstern, and others, to the actual behavior of people playing games or involved in bargaining situations. The paper suggests directions in which the theory of games might be modified and extended to improve its applicability and usefulness. A "split-the-difference principle" is suggested to augment the usual theory, so as to specify the exact amount of payments to be made in an ordinary two-person bargaining situation such as the sale of a used car. The application of this principle seems satisfactory in the experiments. One experiment suggests that, in a sequence of trials in the same game situation, people tend to start near an equilibrium point and then try to find a better equilibrium, if there is one. The experiments show examples of non-optimal behavior of the bargainers when the judgment necessary to estimate the relevant payoff is obscure. A fair division of five parcels of objects among five players when each player attaches different values to the parcels is outlined and computed, and the effect of coalitions is discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Merrill M. Flood, 1958. "Some Experimental Games," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 5(1), pages 5-26, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:5:y:1958:i:1:p:5-26

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    Cited by:

    1. Pillai N., Vijayamohanan, 2008. "In Quest of Truth: The War of Methods in Economics," MPRA Paper 8866, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Julia Mortera & Paola Vicard & Cecilia Vergari, 2012. "Object-Oriented Bayesian Networks for a Decision Support System," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0144, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
    3. Oded Stark & Doris Behrens, 2011. "In search of an evolutionary edge: trading with a few, more, or many," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 21(5), pages 721-736, December.
    4. Duffy, John & Ochs, Jack, 2009. "Cooperative behavior and the frequency of social interaction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 785-812, July.
    5. Sabater-Grande, Gerardo & Georgantzis, Nikolaos, 2002. "Accounting for risk aversion in repeated prisoners' dilemma games: an experimental test," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 37-50, May.
    6. Rich, Patricia, 2015. "Rethinking common belief, revision, and backward induction," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 102-114.
    7. Philip R. P. Coelho & James E. McClure, 2016. "The evolution of human cooperation," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 65-78, April.
    8. Frank P. Maier-Rigaud & Jose Apesteguia, 2003. "The Role of Choice in Social Dilemma Experiments," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2003_7, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    9. Chater, Nick & Oaksford, Mike & Nakisa, Ramin & Redington, Martin, 2003. "Fast, frugal, and rational: How rational norms explain behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 63-86, January.
    10. Andrew M. Colman & Briony D. Pulford, 2015. "Psychology of Game Playing: Introduction to a Special Issue," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(4), pages 1-8, December.
    11. Kiran Sharma & Anamika & Anindya S. Chakrabarti & Anirban Chakraborti & Sujoy Chakravarty, 2017. "The Saga of KPR: Theoretical and Experimental developments," Papers 1712.06358,
    12. Laurent Denant-Boemont & Olivier L’Haridon, 2013. "La rationalité à l'épreuve de l'économie comportementale," Revue française d'économie, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(2), pages 35-89.
    13. repec:pit:wpaper:274 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Nicolas Vallois & Dorian Jullien, 2017. "Estimating Rationality in Economics: A History of Statistical Methods in Experimental Economics," Working Papers halshs-01651070, HAL.

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