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Unbeatable Imitation

  • Peter Duersch
  • Joerg Oechssler
  • Burkhard C. Schipper

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

We show that for many classes of symmetric two-player games, the simple decision rule "imitate-the-best" can hardly be beaten by any other decision rule. We provide necessary and sufficient conditions for imitation to be unbeatable in the sense that, even against a very clever opponent, imitation is subject to a money pump if and only if the relative payoff function of the game is of the rock-scissors-paper variety. For many interesting classes of games including examples like 2x2 games, Cournot duopoly, price competition, public goods games, common pool resource games, and minimum effort coordination games, we obtain an even stronger notion of the unbeatability of imitation.

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Paper provided by University of California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 103.

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Length: 31
Date of creation: 16 Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:10-3
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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. Duersch, Peter & Oechssler, Joerg & Schipper, Burkhard C, 2010. "Pure Saddle Points and Symmetric Relative Payoff Games," MPRA Paper 20864, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. L. Randall Wray & Stephanie Bell, 2004. "Introduction," Chapters, in: Credit and State Theories of Money, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  4. Burkhard Hehenkamp & Wolfgang Leininger & Alex Possajennikov, 2003. "Evolutionary Equilibrium in Tullock Contests: Spite and Overdissipation," Discussion Papers in Economics 03_01, University of Dortmund, Department of Economics.
  5. Ana B. Ania, 2005. "Evolutionary stability and Nash equilibrium in finite populations, with an application to price competition," Vienna Economics Papers 0601, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  6. Apesteguia, Jose & Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jörg & Weidenholzer, Simon, 2007. "Imitation and the evolution of walrasian behavior : theoretically fragile but behaviorally robust," Papers 07-69, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
  7. Burkhard Schipper, 2002. "Submodularity and the Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse4_2003, University of Bonn, Germany.
  8. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "Rationalizability, Learning, and Equilibrium in Games with Strategic Complementarities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1255-77, November.
  9. AMIR, Rabah, 1994. "Cournot Oligopoly and the Theory of Supermodular Games," CORE Discussion Papers 1994013, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. 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.
  11. Fernando Vega Redondo, 1996. "The evolution of walrasian behavior," Working Papers. Serie AD 1996-05, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  12. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1997. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly - An Experiment," Game Theory and Information 9707009, EconWPA, revised 22 Jul 1997.
  13. Burkhard C. Schipper, 2005. "Imitators and Optimizers in Cournot oligopoly," Working Papers 537, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  14. Theo Offerman & Jan Potters & Joep Sonnemans, 1997. "Imitation and Belief Learning in an Oligopoly Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-116/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  15. John B Van Huyck & Raymond C Battalio & Richard O Beil, 1997. "Tacit coordination games, strategic uncertainty, and coordination failure," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1225, David K. Levine.
  16. Juang, Wei-Torng, 2002. "Rule Evolution and Equilibrium Selection," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 71-90, April.
  17. Peter Duersch & Joerg Oechssler & Burkhard Schipper, 2011. "Once Beaten, Never Again: Imitation in Two-Player Potential Games," Working Papers 1112, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  18. 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.
  19. Peter Duersch & Jörg Oechssler & Burkhard Schipper, 2012. "Pure strategy equilibria in symmetric two-player zero-sum games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 41(3), pages 553-564, August.
  20. 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.
  21. Peter Duersch & Albert Kolb & Jörg Oechssler & Burkhard Schipper, 2010. "Rage against the machines: how subjects play against learning algorithms," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 43(3), pages 407-430, June.
  22. Milgrom, Paul & Shannon, Chris, 1994. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 157-80, January.
  23. Schaffer, Mark E., 1989. "Are profit-maximisers the best survivors? : A Darwinian model of economic natural selection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 29-45, August.
  24. 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.
  25. Nash, John, 1953. "Two-Person Cooperative Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 21(1), pages 128-140, April.
  26. Philippe Robert-Demontrond & R. Ringoot, 2004. "Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00081823, HAL.
  27. Monderer, Dov & Shapley, Lloyd S., 1996. "Potential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 124-143, May.
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