Joining a Queue or Staying Out: Effects of Information Structure and Service Time on Arrival and Staying Out Decisions
We study a class of single-server queueing systems with a finite population size, FIFO queue discipline, and no balking or reneging. In contrast to the predominant assumptions of queueing theory of exogenously determined arrivals and steady state behavior, we investigate queueing systems with endogenously determined arrival times and focus on transient rather than steady state behavior. When arrival times are endogenous, the resulting interactive decision process is modeled as a non-cooperative n-person game with complete information. Assuming discrete strategy spaces, the mixed-strategy equilibrium solution for groups of n=20 agents is computed using a Markov chain method. Using a 2 Ã— 2 between-subject design (private vs. public information by short vs. long service time), arrival and staying out decisions are presented and compared to the equilibrium predictions. The results indicate that players generate replicable patterns of behavior that are accounted for remarkably well on the aggregate, but not individual, level by the mixed-strategy equilibrium solution unless congestion is unavoidable and information about group behavior is not provided. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005
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