IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

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/coreEmail:


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. Aviad Heifetz & Chris Shannon & Yossi Spiegel, 2004. "What to Maximize if You Must," Discussion Papers 1414, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Samuelson, L., 1989. "Evolutionnary Stability In Asymmetric Games," Papers 11-8-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  3. Michael L. Katz., 1991. "Game-Playing Agents: Unobservable Contracts as Precommitments," Economics Working Papers 91-172, University of California at Berkeley.
  4. Fershtman, C. & Weiss,Y., 1995. "Social Rewards, Externalities and Stable Preferences," Papers 32-95, Tel Aviv.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Chaim Fershtman & Kenneth L. Judd & Ehud Kalai, 1990. "Observable Contracts: Strategic Delegation and Cooperation," Discussion Papers 879, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1997. "Predation, reputation , and entry deterrence," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1460, David K. Levine.
  11. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1996. "The Theory of Learning in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 624, David K. Levine.
  12. 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.
  13. Steffen Huck & Joerg Oechssler, 1995. "The Indirect Evolutionary Approach to Explaining Fair Allocations," Game Theory and Information 9507001, EconWPA, revised 27 Aug 1998.
  14. 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.
  15. Heifetz, Aviad & Segev, Ella, 2004. "The evolutionary role of toughness in bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 117-134, October.
  16. Bar-Gill, O. & Fershtman, C., 2001. "The Limit of Public Policy: Endogenous Preferences," Papers 2001-5, Tel Aviv.
  17. 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.
  18. Samuelson, Larry & Zhang, Jianbo, 1992. "Evolutionary stability in asymmetric games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 363-391, August.
  19. Kreps, David M. & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Reputation and imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 253-279, August.
  20. Kockesen, Levent & Ok, Efe A. & Sethi, Rajiv, 2000. "The Strategic Advantage of Negatively Interdependent Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 274-299, June.
  21. 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.
  22. JÃrg Oechssler & Frank Riedel, 2001. "Evolutionary dynamics on infinite strategy spaces," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 141-162.
  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. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Moulin, Herve, 1984. "Dominance solvability and cournot stability," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 83-102, February.
  27. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998. "Learning in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2222, David K. Levine.
  28. Sethi, Rajiv & Somanathan, E., 2001. "Preference Evolution and Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 273-297, April.
  29. 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.
  30. Samuelson, Larry, 2001. "Introduction to the Evolution of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 225-230, April.
  31. Bester, H. & Güth, W., 1994. "Is altruism evolutionarily stable ?," Discussion Paper 1994-103, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  32. 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.
  33. Benos, Alexandros V., 1998. "Aggressiveness and survival of overconfident traders," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 353-383, September.
  34. Kreps, David M, 1997. "Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 359-64, May.
  35. Jerry R. GREEN, 1992. "Commitments with Third Parties," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 25-26, pages 101-121.
  36. Armen A. Alchian, 1950. "Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 211.
  37. Alvaro Sandroni, 2000. "Do Markets Favor Agents Able to Make Accurate Predicitions?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1303-1342, November.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
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.