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Bounded Rationality in Randomization


  • Scroggin, Steven


In repeated games with Nash equilibria in mixed strategies, players optimize by playing randomly. Players are boundedly rational in their randomization e�orts. Arguably, they have no internal randomization facility and they fashion external randomization aids from the environment. By conditioning on past play, boundedly rational players exhibit a pattern. The pattern is characterized by cognitive limitations variously called local representativeness, the law of small numbers or the gambler’s fallacy. I find one such pattern—balance then runs—in re-analysis of existing data for matching pennies experiments. While players and play are heterogeneous, the pattern makes prediction plausible. I implement prediction with a non-linear autoregression. Model 1 is a statistically and substantively significant tool for predicting behavior in matching pennies. There is evidence for two other behavioral models, both of which require some sort of sophistication—including a model of the opponent as boundedly rational.

Suggested Citation

  • Scroggin, Steven, 2003. "Bounded Rationality in Randomization," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1974b8tz, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt1974b8tz

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-881, September.
    2. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P & Broseta, Bruno, 2001. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1193-1235, September.
    3. Timothy C. Salmon, 2001. "An Evaluation of Econometric Models of Adaptive Learning," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1597-1628, November.
    4. Oechssler, Jorg & Schipper, Burkhard, 2003. "Can you guess the game you are playing?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 137-152, April.
    5. Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Inference by Believers in the Law of Small Numbers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 775-816.
    6. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998. "The Theory of Learning in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061945, January.
    7. Shachat, Jason M., 2002. "Mixed Strategy Play and the Minimax Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 189-226, May.
    8. O'Neill, Barry, 1991. "Comments on Brown and Rosenthal's Reexamination [Testing the Minimax Hypothesis, A Reexamination of O'Neill's Game Experiment]," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 503-507, March.
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