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Superstition and Rational Learning

  • Drew Fudenberg
  • David K Levine

We argue that some, but not all, superstitions can persist when learning is rational and players are patient, and illustrate our argument with an example inspired by the Code of Hammurabi. The code specified an "appeal by surviving in the river" as a way of deciding whether an accusation was true. According to our theory, a mechanism that uses superstitions two or more steps off the equilibrium path, such as "appeal by surviving in the river," is more likely to persist than a superstition where the false beliefs are only one step off the equilibrium path. (JEL C72, C73, D83, D84)

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File URL: http://www.dklevine.com/papers/ham-o.pdf
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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 618897000000000731.

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Date of creation: 16 Jul 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:618897000000000731
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.dklevine.com/

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  1. Eddie Dekel & Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, . "Payoff Information and Self-Confirming Equilibrium," ELSE working papers 032, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
  2. Kalai, E & Neme, A, 1992. "The Strength of a Little Perfection," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 335-55.
  3. Philippe Jehiel & Dov Samet, 2001. "Learning to play games in extensive form by valuation," Game Theory and Information 0012001, EconWPA.
  4. Aoyagi, Masaki, 1996. "Evolution of Beliefs and the Nash Equilibrium of Normal Form Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 444-469, August.
  5. David M Kreps & Robert Wilson, 2003. "Sequential Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000813, David K. Levine.
  6. Drew Fudenberg & David Kreps & David K. Levine, 1988. "On the Robustness of Equilibrium Refinements," Levine's Working Paper Archive 227, David K. Levine.
  7. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1996. "Measuring Subject’s Losses in Experimental Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 370, David K. Levine.
  8. Robert J. Aumann, 2010. "Correlated Equilibrium as an expression of Bayesian Rationality," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000377, David K. Levine.
  9. G. Noldeke & L. Samuelson, 2010. "An Evolutionary Analysis of Backward and Forward Induction," Levine's Working Paper Archive 538, David K. Levine.
  10. Foster, Dean P. & Vohra, Rakesh V., 1997. "Calibrated Learning and Correlated Equilibrium," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 40-55, October.
  11. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K, 1997. "Measuring Players' Losses in Experimental Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 507-36, May.
  12. A. Rubinstein & A. Wolinsky, 2010. "Rationalizable Conjectural Equilibrium: Between Nash and Rationalizability," Levine's Working Paper Archive 369, David K. Levine.
  13. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1993. "Self-Confirming Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2147, David K. Levine.
  14. Fudenberg, Drew & Kreps, David M., 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games I. Self-confirming equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 20-55.
  15. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1997. "Conditional Universal Consistency," Levine's Working Paper Archive 471, David K. Levine.
  16. Lambson, Val E. & Probst, Daniel A., 2004. "Learning by matching patterns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 398-409, February.
  17. Sergiu Hart, 1999. "Evolutionary Dynamics and Backward Induction," Game Theory and Information 9905002, EconWPA, revised 23 Mar 2000.
  18. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K, 1993. "Steady State Learning and Nash Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 547-73, May.
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