IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Decision-Theoretic Forward Induction


  • Govindan, Srihari

    (U of Iowa)

  • Wilson, Robert B.

    (Stanford U)


A player's pure strategy is called relevant for an outcome of a game in extensive form with perfect recall if there exists a weakly sequential equilibrium with that outcome for which the strategy is an optimal reply at every information set it does not exclude. The outcome satisfies forward induction if it results from a weakly sequential equilibrium in which players' beliefs assign positive probability only to relevant strategies at each information set reached by a profile of relevant strategies. We prove that if there are two players and payoffs are generic then an outcome satisfies forward induction if every game with the same reduced normal form after eliminating redundant pure strategies has a sequential equilibrium with an equivalent outcome. Thus in this case forward induction is implied by decision-theoretic criteria.

Suggested Citation

  • Govindan, Srihari & Wilson, Robert B., 2008. "Decision-Theoretic Forward Induction," Research Papers 1986, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1986

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kreps, David M & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Sequential Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 863-894, July.
    2. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1982. "Limit Pricing and Entry under Incomplete Information: An Equilibrium Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 443-459, March.
    3. Olivier Compte & Philippe Jehiel, 2002. "On the Role of Outside Options in Bargaining with Obstinate Parties," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1477-1517, July.
    4. Grossman, Sanford J. & Perry, Motty, 1986. "Perfect sequential equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 97-119, June.
    5. Kyle Bagwell & Garey Ramey, 1988. "Advertising and Limit Pricing," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(1), pages 59-71, Spring.
    6. Srihari Govindan & Robert Wilson, 2009. "On Forward Induction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(1), pages 1-28, January.
    7. Wilson, Robert B. & Govindan, Srihari, 2006. "Sufficient conditions for stable equilibria," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(2), pages 167-206, June.
    8. Pearce, David G, 1984. "Rationalizable Strategic Behavior and the Problem of Perfection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 1029-1050, July.
    9. Ausubel, Lawrence M. & Cramton, Peter & Deneckere, Raymond J., 2002. "Bargaining with incomplete information," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications,in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 50, pages 1897-1945 Elsevier.
    10. Blume, Lawrence & Brandenburger, Adam & Dekel, Eddie, 1991. "Lexicographic Probabilities and Equilibrium Refinements," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 81-98, January.
    11. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1986. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 796-821, August.
    12. Cramton, Peter C & Tracy, Joseph S, 1994. "Wage Bargaining with Time-Varying Threats," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(4), pages 594-617, October.
    13. Govindan, Srihari & Wilson, Robert, 2001. "Direct Proofs of Generic Finiteness of Nash Equilibrium Outcomes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(3), pages 765-769, May.
    14. Grossman, Sanford J. & Perry, Motty, 1986. "Sequential bargaining under asymmetric information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 120-154, June.
    15. Ponssard, Jean-Pierre, 1991. "Forward induction and sunk costs give average cost pricing," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 221-236, May.
    16. Gul, Faruk & Sonnenschein, Hugo, 1988. "On Delay in Bargaining with One-Sided Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(3), pages 601-611, May.
    17. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
    18. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Siniscalchi, Marciano, 2002. "Strong Belief and Forward Induction Reasoning," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 356-391, October.
    19. Kyle Bagwell, 1987. "Introductory Price as a Signal of Cost in a Model of Repeat Business," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 365-384.
    20. McLennan, Andrew, 1985. "Justifiable Beliefs in Sequential Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 889-904, July.
    21. Reny, Philip J, 1992. "Backward Induction, Normal Form Perfection and Explicable Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(3), pages 627-649, May.
    22. Van Damme, Eric, 2002. "Strategic equilibrium," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications,in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 41, pages 1521-1596 Elsevier.
    23. Anat R. Admati & Motty Perry, 1987. "Strategic Delay in Bargaining," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 345-364.
    24. van Damme, Eric, 1989. "Stable equilibria and forward induction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 476-496, August.
    25. Banks, Jeffrey S & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 647-661, May.
    26. Cho, In-Koo & Sobel, Joel, 1990. "Strategic stability and uniqueness in signaling games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 381-413, April.
    27. Ben-Porath, Elchanan & Dekel, Eddie, 1992. "Signaling future actions and the potential for sacrifice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 36-51.
    28. Ying Chen & Navin Kartik & Joel Sobel, 2008. "Selecting Cheap-Talk Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 117-136, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Yuval Heller & Eyal Winter, 2016. "Rule Rationality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 57, pages 997-1026, August.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1986. 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: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.