IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

What to maximize if you must

  • HEIFETZ, Aviad
  • SHANNON, Chris
  • SPIEGEL, Yossi

The assumption that decision makers choose actions to maximize their preferences is a central tenet in economics. This assumption is often justified either formally or informally by appealing to evolutionary arguments. In contrast, this paper shows that in almost every game, payoff maximization cannot be justified by appealing to such arguments. We show that in almost every game, for almost every distortion of a player's actual payoffs, some extent of this distortion is beneficial to the player because of the resulting effect on opponents' play. Consequently, such distortions will not be driven out by any evolutionary process involving payoffmonotonic selection dynamics, in which agents with higher actual payoffs proliferate at the expense of less successful agents. In particular, under any such selection dynamics, the population will not converge to payoff-maximizing behavior. We also show that payoff-maximizing behavior need not prevail even when preferences are imperfectly observed.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://alfresco.uclouvain.be/alfresco/download/attach/workspace/SpacesStore/b050caf8-b3df-4cbe-94ba-8fb693486798/coredp_2003_47.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2003047.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 00 Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2003047
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Voie du Roman Pays 34, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)

Phone: 32(10)474321
Fax: +32 10474304
Web page: http://www.uclouvain.be/core
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Fershtman, C. & Weiss, Y., 1996. "Social Rewards Externalities and Stable Preferences," Papers 17-96, Tel Aviv.
  2. Heifetz, Aviad & Segev, Ella, 2004. "The evolutionary role of toughness in bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 117-134, October.
  3. Nittai Bergman & Yaacov Z Bergman, 2000. "Ecologies of Preferences with Envy As An Antidote to Risk Aversion in Bargaining," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7561, David K. Levine.
  4. Frank, Robert H, 1987. "If Homo Economicus Could Choose His Own Utility Function, Would He Want One with a Conscience?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 593-604, September.
  5. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998. "The Theory of Learning in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061945, December.
  6. Samuelson, L. & Zhang, J., 1990. "Evolutionary Stability In Symmetric Games," Working papers 90-24, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  7. Possajennikov, Alex, 2000. "On the evolutionary stability of altruistic and spiteful preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 125-129, May.
  8. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998. "Learning in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2222, David K. Levine.
  9. Kockesen, Levent & Ok, Efe A. & Sethi, Rajiv, 2000. "Evolution of Interdependent Preferences in Aggregative Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 303-310, May.
  10. Kyle, Albert S & Wang, F Albert, 1997. " Speculation Duopoly with Agreement to Disagree: Can Overconfidence Survive the Market Test?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(5), pages 2073-90, December.
  11. Werner Güth & Axel Ockenfels, . "The Coevolution of Morality and Legal Institutions - An indirect evolutionary approach -," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-06, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  12. Fershtman, Chaim & Judd, Kenneth L & Kalai, Ehud, 1991. "Observable Contracts: Strategic Delegation and Cooperation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(3), pages 551-59, August.
  13. Bolle, Friedel, 2000. "Is altruism evolutionarily stable? And envy and malevolence?: Remarks on Bester and Guth," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 131-133, May.
  14. Sethi, Rajiv & Somanathan, E., 2001. "Preference Evolution and Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 273-297, April.
  15. Kockesen, Levent & Ok, Efe A. & Sethi, Rajiv, 1997. "The Strategic Advantage of Negatively Interdependent Preferences," Working Papers 97-34, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  16. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1980. "Predation, Reputation, and Entry Deterrence," Discussion Papers 427, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  17. Moulin, Herve, 1984. "Dominance solvability and cournot stability," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 83-102, February.
  18. S. Huck & J. Oechssler, 1996. "The Indirect Evolutionary Approach To Explaining Fair Allocations," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1996,13, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  19. Oechssler, Joerg & Frank Riedel, 1999. "Evolutionary Dynamics on Infinite Strategy Spaces," Discussion Paper Serie A 606, University of Bonn, Germany.
  20. Benos, Alexandros V., 1998. "Aggressiveness and survival of overconfident traders," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 353-383, September.
  21. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
  22. Michael L. Katz., 1991. "Game-Playing Agents: Unobservable Contracts as Precommitments," Economics Working Papers 91-172, University of California at Berkeley.
  23. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1994. "Human Relations in the Workplace," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 684-717, August.
  24. Aviad Heifetz & Chris Shannon & Yossi Spiegel, 2003. "What to Maximize If You Must," Game Theory and Information 0303002, EconWPA.
  25. Samuelson, Larry & Zhang, Jianbo, 1992. "Evolutionary stability in asymmetric games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 363-391, August.
  26. Leininger, W. & Linhart, P. B. & Radner, R., 1989. "Equilibria of the sealed-bid mechanism for bargaining with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 63-106, June.
  27. repec:adr:anecst:y:1992:i:25-26:p:05 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Bar-Gill, O. & Fershtman, C., 2001. "The Limit of Public Policy: Endogenous Preferences," Papers 2001-5, Tel Aviv.
  29. Dekel, Eddie & Ely, Jeffrey & Yilankaya, Okan, 2004. "Evolution of Preferences," Microeconomics.ca working papers dekel-04-08-13-01-21-07, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 09 Jun 2006.
  30. Guttman, Joel M., 2000. "On the evolutionary stability of preferences for reciprocity," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 31-50, March.
  31. Ok, Efe A. & Vega-Redondo, Fernando, 2001. "On the Evolution of Individualistic Preferences: An Incomplete Information Scenario," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 231-254, April.
  32. Bester, Helmut & Guth, Werner, 1998. "Is altruism evolutionarily stable?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 193-209, February.
  33. Alvaro Sandroni, 2000. "Do Markets Favor Agents Able to Make Accurate Predicitions?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1303-1342, November.
  34. Samuelson, Larry, 2001. "Introduction to the Evolution of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 225-230, April.
  35. Armen A. Alchian, 1950. "Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 211.
  36. Werner G, th & Bezalel Peleg, 2001. "When will payoff maximization survive? An indirect evolutionary analysis," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 11(5), pages 479-499.
  37. Kreps, David M, 1997. "Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 359-64, May.
  38. Ely, Jeffrey C. & Yilankaya, Okan, 2001. "Nash Equilibrium and the Evolution of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 255-272, April.
  39. Anderson Robert M. & Zame William R., 2001. "Genericity with Infinitely Many Parameters," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-64, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2003047. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alain GILLIS)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.