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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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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:618897000000000731
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  1. Philippe Jehiel & Dov Samet, 2010. "Learning To Play Games In Extensive Form By Valuation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391749000000000034, David K. Levine.
  2. Kreps, David M & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Sequential Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 863-94, July.
  3. Drew Fudenberg & David M. Kreps & David K. Levine, 1986. "On the Robustness of Equilibrium Refinements," UCLA Economics Working Papers 398, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K, 1993. "Steady State Learning and Nash Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 547-73, May.
  5. Dekel, Eddie & Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K., 1999. "Payoff Information and Self-Confirming Equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 165-185, December.
  6. Ehud Kalai & Alejandro Neme, 1989. "The Strength of a Little Perfection," Discussion Papers 858, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Levine, David & Fudenberg, Drew, 1997. "Measuring Players' Losses in Experimental Games," Scholarly Articles 3160492, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Sergiu Hart, 1999. "Evolutionary Dynamics and Backward Induction," Game Theory and Information 9905002, EconWPA, revised 23 Mar 2000.
  9. Lambson, Val E. & Probst, Daniel A., 2004. "Learning by matching patterns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 398-409, February.
  10. Fudenberg, D. & Levine, D.K., 1991. "Self-Confirming Equilibrium ," Working papers 581, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Aumann, Robert J, 1987. "Correlated Equilibrium as an Expression of Bayesian Rationality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 1-18, January.
  12. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1997. "Conditional Universal Consistency," Levine's Working Paper Archive 471, David K. Levine.
  13. A. Rubinstein & A. Wolinsky, 2010. "Rationalizable Conjectural Equilibrium: Between Nash and Rationalizability," Levine's Working Paper Archive 369, David K. Levine.
  14. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:2:p:507-36 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. 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.
  16. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1997. "Measuring Players' Losses in Experimental Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 507-536.
  17. 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.
  18. Noldeke Georg & Samuelson Larry, 1993. "An Evolutionary Analysis of Backward and Forward Induction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 425-454, July.
  19. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1996. "Measuring Subject’s Losses in Experimental Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 370, David K. Levine.
  20. 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.
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