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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.dklevine.com/

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  1. 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.
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  9. Sergiu Hart & Andreu Mas-Colell, 1997. "A Simple Adaptive Procedure Leading to Correlated Equilibrium," Game Theory and Information 9703006, EconWPA, revised 24 Mar 1997.
  10. 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.
  11. Simon P. Anderson & Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 1999. "The Logit Equilibrium: A Perspective on Intuitive Behavioral Anomalies," Virginia Economics Online Papers 332, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  12. John Duffy & Ed Hopkins, 2004. "Learning, Information and Sorting in Market Entry Games: Theory and Evidence," ESE Discussion Papers 78, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  13. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
  14. Cason, T. & Friedman, D. & Wagener, F.O.O., 2003. "The dynamics of price dispersion, or Edgeworth variations," CeNDEF Working Papers 03-11, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Economics and Finance.
  15. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-59, September.
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  17. Michel Benaim & Josef Hofbauer & Ed Hopkins, 2005. "Learning in Games with Unstable Equilibria," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000609, UCLA Department of Economics.
  18. Peyton Young, 2002. "Learning Hypothesis Testing and Nash Equilibrium," Economics Working Paper Archive 474, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Hofbauer, Josef & Hopkins, Ed, 2005. "Learning in perturbed asymmetric games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 133-152, July.
  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. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 2000. "Learning Purified Mixed Equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 84-115, January.
  24. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  28. 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.
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