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A Simple Test of Learning Theory

  • Jim Engle-Warnick
  • Ed Hopkins

We report experiments designed to test the theoretical possibility, first discovered by Shapley (1964), that in some games learning fails to converge to any equilibrium, either in terms of marginal frequencies or of average play. Subjects played repeatedly in fixed pairings one of two 3 × 3 games, each having a unique Nash equilibrium in mixed strategies. The equilibrium of one game is predicted to be stable under learning, the other unstable, provided payoffs are sufficiently high. We ran each game in high and low payoff treatments. We find that, in all treatments, average play is close to equilibrium even though there are strong cycles present in the data.

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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 321307000000000724.

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Date of creation: 30 Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:321307000000000724
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  1. Ed Hopkins & Robert M. Seymour, 2002. "The Stability of Price Dispersion under Seller and Consumer Learning," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1157-1190, November.
  2. Young, H. Peyton, 2004. "Strategic Learning and its Limits," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199269181, July.
  3. Simon P. Anderson & Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 2002. "The Logit Equilibrium: A Perspective on Intuitive Behavioral Anomalies," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 21-47, July.
  4. Hofbauer, Josef & Hopkins, Ed, 2005. "Learning in perturbed asymmetric games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 133-152, July.
  5. John Duffy & Ed Hopkins, 2010. "Learning, Information and Sorting in Market Entry Games: Theory and Evidence," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000355, David K. Levine.
  6. Benaim, Michel & Hirsch, Morris W., 1999. "Mixed Equilibria and Dynamical Systems Arising from Fictitious Play in Perturbed Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 36-72, October.
  7. Peyton Young, 2002. "Learning Hypothesis Testing and Nash Equilibrium," Economics Working Paper Archive 474, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  8. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2003. "Risk averse behavior in generalized matching pennies games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 97-113, October.
  9. Sergiu Hart & Andreu Mas-Colell, 2000. "A Simple Adaptive Procedure Leading to Correlated Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1127-1150, September.
  10. Cason, Timothy N. & Friedman, Daniel, 2003. "Buyer search and price dispersion: a laboratory study," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 232-260, October.
  11. Morgan, John & Orzen, Henrik & Sefton, Martin, 2006. "An experimental study of price dispersion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 134-158, January.
  12. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 2000. "Learning Purified Mixed Equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 84-115, January.
  13. Michel Benaim & Josef Hofbauer & Ed Hopkins, 2005. "Learning in Games with Unstable Equilibria," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000609, UCLA Department of Economics.
  14. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2001. "Information Gatekeepers on the Internet and the Competitiveness of Homogeneous Product Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 454-474, June.
  15. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Friedman, Daniel, 1997. "Individual Learning in Normal Form Games: Some Laboratory Results," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 46-76, April.
  16. Ed Hopkins, 2000. "Two Competing Models of How People Learn in Games," ESE Discussion Papers 51, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  17. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  18. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-59, September.
  19. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
  20. Van Huyck, John B & Cook, Joseph P & Battalio, Raymond C, 1994. "Selection Dynamics, Asymptotic Stability, and Adaptive Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 975-1005, October.
  21. 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 848-81, September.
  22. Brown, James N & Rosenthal, Robert W, 1990. "Testing the Minimax Hypothesis: A Re-examination of O'Neill's Game Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1065-81, September.
  23. Battalio, Raymond & Samuelson, Larry & Van Huyck, John, 2001. "Optimization Incentives and Coordination Failure in Laboratory Stag Hunt Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(3), pages 749-64, May.
  24. Cason, Timothy N. & Friedman, Daniel & Wagener, Florian, 2005. "The dynamics of price dispersion, or Edgeworth variations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 801-822, April.
  25. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 1998. "Learning in games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 631-639, May.
  26. Tang, Fang-Fang, 2001. "Anticipatory learning in two-person games: some experimental results," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 221-232, February.
  27. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
  28. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
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