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Learning to Open Monty Hall's Doors

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  • Ignacio Palacios-Huerta

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Abstract

The analysis in this paper searches for individual and group determinants of learning behavior in Monty Hall's Three Door problem examined in Friedman (1998, American Economic Review. 88, 933–946). The results show that the size of monetary incentives, individuals' initial abilities, and social interactions with others are all important determinants of initial choices and subsequent learning in this problem: (i) More able students have a greater initial propensity to make the right choice than less able students, and their learning curves are initially steeper; (ii) Individual learning can also be enhanced through social interactions; (iii) Interestingly, less able students benefit more than more able students from social interactions in the sample. These findings support the argument that learning models that take into account individuals' abilities and that allow for social interactions where agents can exchange information hold a great deal of promise for enhancing our understanding of actual learning environments, learning processes, and the formation of rationality. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Suggested Citation

  • Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2003. "Learning to Open Monty Hall's Doors," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(3), pages 235-251, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:6:y:2003:i:3:p:235-251 DOI: 10.1023/A:1026209001464
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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, pages 848-881.
    2. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    3. Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 681-704.
    4. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2002. "Learning to Open Monty Hall's Doors," Working Papers 2002-23, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    5. Friedman, Daniel, 1998. "Monty Hall's Three Doors: Construction and Deconstruction of a Choice Anomaly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 933-946.
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    Cited by:

    1. Duffy, Sean & Smith, John, 2011. "Cognitive load in the multi-player prisoner's dilemma game," MPRA Paper 30856, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Patrick Bayer & Stephen L. Ross & Giorgio Topa, 2008. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1150-1196, December.
    3. Ondrej Rydval, 2007. "The Interaction between Financial Incentives and Task-specific Cognitive Capital: More Evidence in Support of Camerer and Hogarth (1999)," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-039, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    4. Vincent P. Crawford & Nagore Iriberri, 2007. "Level-k Auctions: Can a Nonequilibrium Model of Strategic Thinking Explain the Winner's Curse and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(6), pages 1721-1770, November.
    5. Pedro Dal Bo & Andrew Foster & Louis Putterman, 2010. "Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 2205-2229.
    6. Duffy, Sean & Naddeo, JJ & Owens, David & Smith, John, 2016. "Cognitive load and mixed strategies: On brains and minimax," MPRA Paper 71878, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Chen, Chia-Ching & Chiu, I-Ming & Smith, John & Yamada, Tetsuji, 2011. "Too smart to be selfish? Measures of intelligence, social preferences, and consistency," MPRA Paper 34438, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Rydval, Ondrej & Ortmann, Andreas, 2004. "How financial incentives and cognitive abilities affect task performance in laboratory settings: an illustration," Economics Letters, Elsevier, pages 315-320.
    9. Andrea Morone & Annamaria Fiore, 2007. "Monty Hall's Three Doors for Dummies," SERIES 0012, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised Feb 2007.
    10. Duffy, Sean & Smith, John, 2014. "Cognitive load in the multi-player prisoner's dilemma game: Are there brains in games?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 47-56.
    11. Chen, Chia-Ching & Chiu, I-Ming & Smith, John & Yamada, Tetsuji, 2013. "Too smart to be selfish? Measures of cognitive ability, social preferences, and consistency," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 112-122.
    12. Engelmann, Dirk & Strobel, Martin, 2012. "Deconstruction and reconstruction of an anomaly," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 678-689.
    13. Allred, Sarah & Duffy, Sean & Smith, John, 2016. "Cognitive load and strategic sophistication," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 162-178.
    14. Yannis M. Ioannides & Giorgio Topa, 2010. "Neighborhood Effects: Accomplishments And Looking Beyond Them," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 343-362.
    15. Kim Kaivanto & Eike B. Kroll & Michael Zabinski, 2014. "Bias-Trigger Manipulation and Task-Form Understanding in Monty Hall," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(1), pages 89-98.
    16. Ondrej Rydval, 2011. "The Causal Effect of Cognitive Abilities on Economic Behavior: Evidence from a Forecasting Task with Varying Cognitive Load," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-064, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    17. M. Bigoni & D. Dragone, 2011. "An experiment on experimental instructions," Working Papers wp794, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    18. Brain Kluger & Daniel Friedman, 2006. "Financial Engineering and Rationality: Experimental Evidence Based on the Monty Hall Problem," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 007, University of Siena.
    19. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Smith, John, 2016. "Cognitive abilities and economic behavior," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 1-4.

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    Keywords

    learning; ability; social interactions; rationality;

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