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Naive Reinforcement Learning With Endogenous Aspiration

  • Tilman B�rgers
  • Rajiv Sarin

This risk.paper considers a simple learning process for decision problems under All behaviour change derives from the reinforcing or deterring effect of instantaneous payoff experiences. Payoff experiences are reinforcing or deterring depending on whether the payoff exceeds an aspiration level or falls short of it. The aspiration level is endogenous. Over time it is adjusted into the direction of the actually experienced payoff. This paper shows that realistic aspiration level adjustments may improve the decision maker's long run per-formance, because they may prevent him from feeling dissatisfied with even the best of the available strategies. On the other hand, the paper also shows that in a large class of decision problems endogenous aspiration levels lead to persistent deviations from expected payoff maximisation because they create "probability matching" effects.

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Paper provided by ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution in its series ELSE working papers with number 037.

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Handle: RePEc:els:esrcls:037
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://else.econ.ucl.ac.uk/
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  1. Karandikar, Rajeeva & Mookherjee, Dilip & Ray, Debraj & Vega-Redondo, Fernando, 1998. "Evolving Aspirations and Cooperation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 292-331, June.
  2. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1996. "Case-Based Optimization," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-26, July.
  3. Cross, John G, 1973. "A Stochastic Learning Model of Economic Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 239-66, May.
  4. Bendor, J. & Mookherjee, D. & Ray, D., 1994. "Aspirations, Adaptive Learning and Cooperation in Reapeted Games," Papers 27, Boston University - Department of Economics.
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