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Once Beaten, Never Again: Imitation in Two-Player Potential Games

  • Duersch, Peter
  • Oechssler, Jörg
  • Schipper, Burkhard C.

We show that in symmetric two-player exact potential games, the simple decision rule "imitate-if-better" cannot be beaten by any strategy in a repeated game by more than the maximal payoff difference of the one-period game. Our results apply to many interesting games including examples like 2x2 games, Cournot duopoly, price competition, public goods games, common pool resource games, and minimum effort coordination games.

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Paper provided by University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0529.

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Date of creation: 21 Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0529
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  1. Apesteguia, Jose & Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jörg & Weidenholzer, Simon, 2007. "Imitation and the Evolution of Walrasian Behavior: Theoretically Fragile but Behaviorally Robust," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-69, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  2. Duersch, Peter & Oechssler, Jörg & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2010. "Unbeatable Imitation," Working Papers 0499, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  3. J. B. Van Huyck & R. C. Battalio & R. O. Beil, 2010. "Tacit coordination games, strategic uncertainty, and coordination failure," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000393, David K. Levine.
  4. Schlag, Karl H., 1994. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? Exploring a Model of Social Evolution," Discussion Paper Serie B 296, University of Bonn, Germany.
  5. Josephson, Jens, 2008. "A numerical analysis of the evolutionary stability of learning rules," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 1569-1599, May.
  6. Peter Duersch & Jörg Oechssler & Burkhard Schipper, 2012. "Pure strategy equilibria in symmetric two-player zero-sum games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 553-564, August.
  7. Hehenkamp, Burkhard & Kaarbøe, Oddvar M., 2003. "Imitators and Optimizers in a Changing Environment," Working Papers in Economics 03/03, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  8. José Apesteguía & Steffen Huck & Jorg Oechssler, 2003. "Imitation-Theory and Experimental Evidence-," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 0306, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.
  9. Karl H. Schlag, 1995. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? A Bounded Rational Approach to Multi-Armed Bandits," Discussion Paper Serie B 361, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Mar 1996.
  10. Branzei, Rodica & Mallozzi, Lina & Tijs, Stef, 2003. "Supermodular games and potential games," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 39-49, February.
  11. Burkhard C. Schipper, 2004. "Submodularity and the evolution of Walrasian behavior," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 471-477, 08.
  12. Offerman, Theo & Potters, Jan & Sonnemans, Joep, 2002. "Imitation and Belief Learning in an Oligopoly Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 973-97, October.
  13. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Ana Ania, 2005. "The evolutionary stability of perfectly competitive behavior," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 497-516, October.
  14. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 1999. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly--An Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages C80-95, March.
  15. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "Rationalizability, Learning, and Equilibrium in Games with Strategic Complementarities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1255-77, November.
  16. Droste, Edward & Hommes, Cars & Tuinstra, Jan, 2002. "Endogenous fluctuations under evolutionary pressure in Cournot competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 232-269, August.
  17. Peter Duersch & Albert Kolb & Jörg Oechssler & Burkhard Schipper, 2010. "Rage against the machines: how subjects play against learning algorithms," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 407-430, June.
  18. Walker, James M. & Gardner, Roy & Ostrom, Elinor, 1990. "Rent dissipation in a limited-access common-pool resource: Experimental evidence," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 203-211, November.
  19. Burkhard C. Schipper, 2005. "Imitators and Optimizers in Cournot oligopoly," Working Papers 537, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  20. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1997. "The Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 375-384, March.
  21. Monderer, Dov & Shapley, Lloyd S., 1996. "Potential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 124-143, May.
  22. Josephson, Jens, 2001. "Stochastic Adaptation in Finite Games Played by Heterogeneous Populations," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 475, Stockholm School of Economics.
  23. Brânzei, R. & Mallozzi, L. & Tijs, S.H., 2003. "Supermodular games and potential games," Other publications TiSEM 87c16860-0596-4448-808d-c, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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