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Evolutionary Drift And Equilibrium Selection


  • Ken Binmore
  • Larry Samuelson


This paper develops an approach to equilibrium selection in game theory based on studying the learning process through which equilibrium is achieved. The differential equations derived frommodels of interactive learn-ing typically have stationary states that are not isolated. Instead, Nash equilibria that specify different out-of-equilibrium behavior appear in con-nected components of stationary states. The stability properties of these components can depend critically on the perturbations to which the system is subjected. We argue that it is then important to incorporate such drift into the model. A sufficient condition is provided for drift to create stationary states, with strong stability properties, near a component of equilibria. Applications to questions of forward and backward induction are developed.

Suggested Citation

  • Ken Binmore & Larry Samuelson, "undated". "Evolutionary Drift And Equilibrium Selection," ELSE working papers 049, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
  • Handle: RePEc:els:esrcls:049

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mailath George J. & Samuelson Larry & Swinkels Jeroen M., 1994. "Normal Form Structures in Extensive Form Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 325-371, December.
    2. Marx, Leslie M. & Swinkels, Jeroen M., 2000. "Order Independence for Iterated Weak Dominance," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 324-329, May.
    3. Mailath, George J & Samuelson, Larry & Swinkels, Jeroen M, 1993. "Extensive Form Reasoning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(2), pages 273-302, March.
    4. Lawrence Blume & Adam Brandenburger & Eddie Dekel, 2014. "Lexicographic Probabilities and Choice Under Uncertainty," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Language of Game Theory Putting Epistemics into the Mathematics of Games, chapter 6, pages 137-160 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. van Damme, E.E.C., 1984. "A relation between perfect equilibria in extensive form games and proper equilibria in normal form games," Other publications TiSEM 3734d89e-fd5c-4c80-a230-5, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    6. Myerson, Roger B, 1986. "Multistage Games with Communication," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 323-358, March.
    7. Kohlberg, Elon & Mertens, Jean-Francois, 1986. "On the Strategic Stability of Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1003-1037, September.
    8. Blume, Lawrence & Brandenburger, Adam & Dekel, Eddie, 1991. "Lexicographic Probabilities and Equilibrium Refinements," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 81-98, January.
    9. Roger B. Myerson, 1977. "Refinements of the Nash Equilibrium Concept," Discussion Papers 295, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefano Demichelis & Jorgen W. Weibull, 2008. "Language, Meaning, and Games: A Model of Communication, Coordination, and Evolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1292-1311, September.

    More about this item


    Evolutionary Games; Cheap Talk; Stability; Drift;

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games


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