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Nash equilibrium without mutual knowledge of rationality

  • Kin Chung Lo

    (Department of Economics, York University, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3 CANADA)

In a Nash equilibrium, players' rationality is mutual knowledge. However, both intuition and experimental evidence suggest that players do not know for sure the rationality of opponents. This paper proposes a new equilibrium concept, cautious equilibrium, that generalizes Nash equilibrium in terms of preferences in two person strategic games. In a cautious equilibrium, players do not necessarily know the rationality of opponents, but they view rationality as infinitely more likely than irrationality. For suitable models of preference, cautious equilibrium predicts that a player might take a "cautious" strategy that is not a best response in any Nash equilibrium.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 14 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 621-633

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Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:14:y:1999:i:3:p:621-633
Note: Received: January 28, 1998; revised version October 2, 1998
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  1. David Schmeidler, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7662, David K. Levine.
  2. Blume, Lawrence & Brandenburger, Adam & Dekel, Eddie, 1991. "Lexicographic Probabilities and Choice under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 61-79, January.
  3. Dekel, Eddie & Safra, Zvi & Segal, Uzi, 1991. "Existence and dynamic consistency of Nash equilibrium with non-expected utility preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 229-246, December.
  4. Aumann, Robert & Brandenburger, Adam, 1995. "Epistemic Conditions for Nash Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(5), pages 1161-80, September.
  5. Blume, Lawrence & Brandenburger, Adam & Dekel, Eddie, 1991. "Lexicographic Probabilities and Equilibrium Refinements," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 81-98, January.
  6. Dow, James & Werlang, Sérgio Ribeiro da Costa, 1992. "Nash equilibrium under knightian uncertainty: breaking-down backward induction," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 186, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  7. Mukerji, S., 1995. "A theory of play for games in strategic form when rationality is not common knowledge," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9519, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  8. Crawford, Vincent P., 1990. "Equilibrium without independence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 127-154, February.
  9. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
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