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Inferring repeated-game strategies from actions: evidence from trust game experiments

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  • Jim Engle-Warnick

    ()

  • Robert Slonim

    ()

Abstract

Combining a strategy model, an inference procedure and a new experimental design, we map sequences of observed actions in repeated games to unobserved strategies that reflect decision-makers’ plans. We demonstrate the method by studying two institutional settings with distinct theoretical predictions. We find that almost all strategies inferred are best responses to one of the inferred strategies of other players, and in one of the settings almost all of the inferred strategies, which include triggers to punish non-cooperators, are consistent with equilibrium strategies. By developing a method to infer unobserved repeated-game strategies from actions, we take a step toward making game theory a more applied tool, bridging a gap between theory and observed behavior. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2006

Suggested Citation

  • Jim Engle-Warnick & Robert Slonim, 2006. "Inferring repeated-game strategies from actions: evidence from trust game experiments," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 28(3), pages 603-632, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:28:y:2006:i:3:p:603-632
    DOI: 10.1007/s00199-005-0633-6
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    Keywords

    Repeated games; Strategies; Finite automata; Trust; Experimental economics.;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C80 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - General
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General

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