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A Simple Test of Learning Theory

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  • Jim Engle-Warnick
  • Ed Hopkins

Abstract

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. Nous faisons le compte rendu d'expériences élaborées afin de tester la possibilité théorique, découverte par Shapley (1964), que dans certains jeux, l'apprentissage ne converge pas vers un équilibre, que ce soit en termes de fréquences marginales ou de jeu moyen. Les sujets ont joué à répétition en paires fixes à un de deux jeux 3 ´ 3, chaque jeu ayant un équilibre de Nash unique avec stratégies mixtes. On prévoit que l'équilibre du premier jeu soit stable après apprentissage, et le deuxième jeu instable, à condition que les gains soient suffisamment élevés. Pour chaque jeu, nous avons eu recours à deux différents traitements : un avec gains faibles et l'autre avec gains élevés. Nous avons constaté que dans tous les traitements, le jeu moyen est près de l'équilibre bien qu'il y ait présence de cycles importants dans les données.
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Suggested Citation

  • Jim Engle-Warnick & Ed Hopkins, 2006. "A Simple Test of Learning Theory," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000724, UCLA Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:321307000000000724
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cason, Timothy N. & Friedman, Daniel & Hopkins, Ed, 2010. "Testing the TASP: An experimental investigation of learning in games with unstable equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(6), pages 2309-2331, November.
    2. Benaïm, Michel & Hofbauer, Josef & Hopkins, Ed, 2009. "Learning in games with unstable equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1694-1709, July.
    3. García-Gallego, Aurora & Georgantzís, Nikolaos & Jaramillo-Gutiérrez, Ainhoa & Pereira, Pedro & Pernías-Cerrillo, J. Carlos, 2014. "On the evolution of monopoly pricing in Internet-assisted search markets," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(5), pages 795-801.
    4. Jim Engle-Warnick, 2007. "Five Indefinitely Repeated Games in the Laboratory," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-11, CIRANO.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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