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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. Jose Apesteguia & Steffen Huck & Jorg Oechssler, 2004. "Imitation - Theory and Experimental Evidence," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000132, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Burkhard C. Schipper, 2005. "Imitators and Optimizers in Cournot oligopoly," Working Papers 537, University of California, Davis, 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. Apesteguia, Jose & Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jörg & Weidenholzer, Simon, 2010. "Imitation and the evolution of Walrasian behavior: Theoretically fragile but behaviorally robust," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(5), pages 1603-1617, September.
  5. 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.
  6. Duersch, Peter & Oechssler, Joerg & Schipper, Burkhard C, 2010. "Unbeatable Imitation," MPRA Paper 20856, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Monderer, Dov & Shapley, Lloyd S., 1996. "Potential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 124-143, May.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Theo Offerman & Jan Potters & Joep Sonnemans, 2002. "Imitation and Belief Learning in an Oligopoly Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 973-997.
  15. 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.
  16. Burkhard Hehenkamp & Oddvar Kaarbøe, 2004. "Imitators and Optimizers in a Changing Environment," Discussion Papers in Economics 02_01, University of Dortmund, Department of Economics.
  17. Burkhard Schipper, 2002. "Submodularity and the Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse4_2003, University of Bonn, Germany.
  18. Peter Duersch & Joerg Oechssler & Burkhard Schipper, 2010. "Pure Strategy Equilibria in Symmetric Two-Player Zero-Sum Games," Working Papers 1021, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  19. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "Rationalizability, Learning, and Equilibrium in Games with Strategic Complementarities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1255-77, November.
  20. 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.
  21. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Ana Ania, 2005. "The evolutionary stability of perfectly competitive behavior," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 497-516, October.
  22. 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.
  23. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1997. "The Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 375-384, March.
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