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

  • Peter Duersch
  • Joerg Oechssler
  • Burkhard Schipper

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

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 California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1112.

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Length: 14
Date of creation: 09 Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:11-12
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Jose Apesteguia & Steffen Huck & Jorg Oechssler, 2003. "Imitation - Theory and Experimental Evidence," Experimental 0309001, EconWPA.
  4. 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.
  5. Jose Apesteguia & Steffen Huck & Jörg Oechssler & Simon Weidenholzer, 2007. "Imitation and the Evolution of Walrasian Behavior: Theoretically Fragile but Behaviorally Robust," Working Papers 0461, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2007.
  6. Van Huyck, John B & Battalio, Raymond C & Beil, Richard O, 1990. "Tacit Coordination Games, Strategic Uncertainty, and Coordination Failure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 234-48, March.
  7. 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.
  8. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Ana Ania, 2005. "The evolutionary stability of perfectly competitive behavior," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 497-516, October.
  9. 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.
  10. Burkhard Schipper, 2002. "Imitators and Optimizers in Cournot Oligopoly," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse29_2002, University of Bonn, Germany.
  11. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-91663 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Josephson, Jens, 2001. "A Numerical Analysis of the Evolutionary Stability of Learning Rules," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 474, Stockholm School of Economics.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Burkhard Schipper, 2002. "Submodularity and the Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse4_2003, University of Bonn, Germany.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Duersch, Peter & Oechssler, Jörg & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2012. "Unbeatable imitation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 88-96.
  19. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1997. "The Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 375-384, March.
  20. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-121822 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1997. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly - An Experiment," Game Theory and Information 9707009, EconWPA, revised 22 Jul 1997.
  22. K. Schlag, 2010. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? Exploring a Model of Social Evolution," Levine's Working Paper Archive 454, David K. Levine.
  23. 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.
  24. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "Rationalizability, Learning, and Equilibrium in Games with Strategic Complementarities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1255-77, November.
  25. Monderer, Dov & Shapley, Lloyd S., 1996. "Potential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 124-143, May.
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