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On the Evolution of Imitative Behavior

  • Björnerstedt, Jonas
  • Karl H. Schlag

We analyze the evolution of behavioral rules for learning how to play a two-armed bandit. Individuals have no information about the underlying pay-off distributions and have limited memory about their own past experience. Instead they must rely on information obtained trough observing the performance of other individuals. Evolution is modelled using the replicator dynamic with the revision behaviors as replicators. We find that evolution favors a special class of imitative rules. These so-called strictly improving rules, that also play an important role in a bounded rational selection approach (Schlag [16]), are found to be neutrally stable when facing any two-armed bandit.

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File URL: http://www.wiwi.uni-bonn.de/bgsepapers/bonsfb/bonsfb378.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Discussion Paper Serie B with number 378.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: Jul 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bon:bonsfb:378
Contact details of provider: Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Fax: +49 228 73 6884
Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

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  1. Dekel, Eddie & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1992. "On the evolution of optimizing behavior," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 392-406, August.
  2. Schlag, Karl H., 1998. "Why Imitate, and If So, How?, : A Boundedly Rational Approach to Multi-armed Bandits," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 130-156, January.
  3. K. Schlag, 2010. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? Exploring a Model of Social Evolution," Levine's Working Paper Archive 454, David K. Levine.
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