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The Dynamic (In)Stability of Backwards Induction

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  • R. Cressman
  • K.H. Schlag

Abstract

The evolutionary basis for predicting the backwards induction solution in generic finite extensive-form games with perfect information is examined. Evolution is modelled using the replicator dynamic in combination with rare mutations that introduce a small change in the proportion of each strategy. The criterion for our judgement is whether this dynamic stabilizes over time at the subgame perfect equilibrium outcome. We find that the backwards induction solution is fully justified by this process only in simple games; simple meaning two players, two actions at each node and at most three consecutive decisions in the game. Examples of more complex games are given in which this process does not select between the subgame perfect equilibrium outcome and alternative Nash equilibrium outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • R. Cressman & K.H. Schlag, "undated". "The Dynamic (In)Stability of Backwards Induction," ELSE working papers 027, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
  • Handle: RePEc:els:esrcls:027
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    Cited by:

    1. Ponti, Giovanni, 2000. "Cycles of Learning in the Centipede Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 115-141, January.
    2. repec:cdl:ucsbec:6-98 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Agostino Manduchi, 1998. "Similar Actions and Cooperation in the Centipede Played by Automata," Working Papers 98-06-053, Santa Fe Institute.
    4. Hart, Sergiu, 2002. "Evolutionary dynamics and backward induction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 227-264, November.
    5. Zibo Xu, 2013. "The instability of backward induction in evolutionary dynamics," Discussion Paper Series dp633, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
    6. Ken Binmore, 1997. "Rationality and backward induction," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 23-41.
    7. Kristian Lindgren & Vilhelm Verendel, 2013. "Evolutionary Exploration of the Finitely Repeated Prisoners’ Dilemma—The Effect of Out-of-Equilibrium Play," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(1), pages 1-20, January.
    8. Christian Hilbe & Moshe Hoffman & Martin A. Nowak, 2015. "Cooperate without Looking in a Non-Repeated Game," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(4), pages 1-15, September.
    9. Troy Tassier, 2013. "Handbook of Research on Complexity, by J. Barkley Rosser, Jr. and Edward Elgar," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 39(1), pages 132-133.
    10. Lindgren, Kristian & Verendel, Vilhelm, 2013. "Evolutionary Exploration of the Finitely Repeated Prisoners' Dilemma--The Effect of Out-of-Equilibrium Play," MPRA Paper 43662, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Antonio Cabrales & Giovanni Ponti, 2000. "Implementation, Elimination of Weakly Dominated Strategies and Evolutionary Dynamics," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(2), pages 247-282, April.
    12. Steffen Huck & Georg Kirchsteiger & Jörg Oechssler, 2005. "Learning to like what you have - explaining the endowment effect," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 689-702, July.
    13. Balkenborg, Dieter & Schlag, Karl H., 2007. "On the evolutionary selection of sets of Nash equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 295-315, March.
    14. Sandholm, William H. & Izquierdo, Segismundo S. & Izquierdo, Luis R., 2019. "Best experienced payoff dynamics and cooperation in the Centipede game," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 14(4).
    15. Jörg Oechssler & Karl H Schlag, 1997. "Loss of Commitment? An Evolutionary Analysis of Bagwell’s Example," Levine's Working Paper Archive 598, David K. Levine.
    16. Zibo Xu, 2013. "Evolutionary stability in general extensive-form games of perfect information," Discussion Paper Series dp631, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
    17. Ponti, Giovanni, 2000. "Continuous-time evolutionary dynamics: theory and practice," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 187-214, June.
    18. Demichelis, Stefano & Ritzberger, Klaus, 2003. "From evolutionary to strategic stability," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 51-75, November.
    19. Stefano Demichelis & Klaus Ritzberger & Jeroen M. Swinkels, 2004. "The simple geometry of perfect information games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 32(3), pages 315-338, June.
    20. Kuzmics, Christoph, 2004. "Stochastic evolutionary stability in extensive form games of perfect information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 321-336, August.
    21. Xu, Zibo, 2013. "Stochastic stability in finite extensive-form games of perfect information," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 743, Stockholm School of Economics.
    22. Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jorg, 1999. "The Indirect Evolutionary Approach to Explaining Fair Allocations," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 13-24, July.
    23. Stéphane Le Roux & Arno Pauly, 2020. "A Semi-Potential for Finite and Infinite Games in Extensive Form," Dynamic Games and Applications, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 120-144, March.
    24. Cressman, R., 2000. "Subgame Monotonicity in Extensive Form Evolutionary Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 183-205, August.
    25. Xu, Zibo, 2013. "Convergence of best response dynamics in extensive-form games," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 745, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 28 Jun 2013.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    perfect information; extensive-form game; Centipede Game; back- wards induction; replicator dynamic; interior asymptotic stability.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C79 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Other

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