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Imitation and the Evolution of Walrasian Behavior: Theoretically Fragile but Behaviorally Robust

  • Jose Apesteguia

    ()

    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

  • Steffen Huck

    ()

    (University College London, Department of Economics)

  • Jörg Oechssler

    ()

    (University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics)

  • Simon Weidenholzer

    ()

    (University of Vienna, Department of Economics)

A well-known result by Vega-Redondo implies that in symmetric Cournot oligopoly, imitation leads to the Walrasian outcome where price equals marginal cost. In this paper we show that this result is not robust to the slightest asymmetry in fixed costs. Instead of obtaining the Walrasian outcome as unique prediction, every outcome where agents choose identical actions will be played some fraction of the time in the long run. We then conduct experiments to check this fragility. We obtain that, contrary to the theoretical prediction, the Walrasian outcome is still a good predictor of behavior.

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File URL: http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/md/awi/forschung/dp461.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0461.

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Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision: Nov 2007
Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0461
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  1. Apestgeguia, Jose & Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jörg, 2005. "Imitation - Theory and Experimental Evidence," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 54, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. Karl H. Schlag, . "Why Imitate, and if so, How? A Bounded Rational Approach to Multi- Armed Bandits," ELSE working papers 028, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
  3. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  4. Offerman, T.J.S. & Potters, J.J.M. & Sonnemans, J., 2002. "Imitation and belief learning in an oligopoly experiment," Other publications TiSEM a6a771c5-31ba-4193-8f76-a, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  5. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 2000. "Does information about competitors' actions increase or decrease competition in experimental oligopoly markets?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 39-57, January.
  6. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1997. "The Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 375-384, March.
  7. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1997. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly - An Experiment," Game Theory and Information 9707009, EconWPA, revised 22 Jul 1997.
  8. M. Kandori & G. Mailath & R. Rob, 1999. "Learning, Mutation and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 500, David K. Levine.
  9. Noeldecke,Georg & Samuelson,Larry, . "An evolutionary analysis of backward and forward induction," Discussion Paper Serie B 228, University of Bonn, Germany.
  10. P. Young, 1999. "The Evolution of Conventions," Levine's Working Paper Archive 485, David K. Levine.
  11. Abbink, Klaus & Brandts, Jordi, 2008. "24. Pricing in Bertrand competition with increasing marginal costs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-31, May.
  12. Selten, Reinhard & Apesteguia, Jose, 2005. "Experimentally observed imitation and cooperation in price competition on the circle," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 171-192, April.
  13. Yasuhito Tanaka, 1999. "Long run equilibria in an asymmetric oligopoly," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 14(3), pages 705-715.
  14. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Ana Ania, 2005. "The evolutionary stability of perfectly competitive behavior," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 26(3), pages 497-516, October.
  15. K. Schlag, 2010. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? Exploring a Model of Social Evolution," Levine's Working Paper Archive 454, David K. Levine.
  16. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
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