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Optimism and Pessimism in Games


  • Jurgen Eichberger

    (Alfred Weber Institut, Universitat Heidelberg)

  • David Kelsey

    (Department of Economics, University of Exeter)


This paper considers the impact of ambiguity in strategic situations. It extends the earlier literature by allowing for optimistic responses to ambiguity. Ambiguity is modelled by CEU preferences. We study comparative statics of changes in ambiguity-attitude in games with strategic complements or substitutes. This gives a precise statement of the impact of ambiguity on economic behaviour. We also the possibility that players may be overconfident in the sense of over-estimating the probability of favourable outcomes. This has a similar effect of increasing equilibrium strategies in games of strategic complements, Finally we consider RDEU preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Jurgen Eichberger & David Kelsey, 2006. "Optimism and Pessimism in Games," Discussion Papers 0605, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:exe:wpaper:0605

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Jungbauer & Klaus Ritzberger, 2011. "Strategic games beyond expected utility," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 48(2), pages 377-398, October.
    2. David Kelsey & Tigran Melkonyan, 2014. "Contests with Ambiguity," Discussion Papers 1411, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
    3. David Kelsey & Sara Roux, 2015. "An experimental study on the effect of ambiguity in a coordination game," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 79(4), pages 667-688, December.
    4. Calford, Evan, 2016. "Mixed Strategies in Games with Ambiguity Averse Agents," MPRA Paper 74909, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Craig Webb, 2015. "Piecewise additivity for non-expected utility," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 60(2), pages 371-392, October.
    6. Diamantaras, Dimitrios & Gilles, Robert P., 2011. "Ambiguity, social opinion and the use of common property resources," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 210-222.
    7. Daniel Laskar, 2013. "Ambiguity, Pessimism, Optimism and Financial Crises in a Simple Global Game Model," PSE Working Papers hal-00811923, HAL.
    8. Jürgen Eichberger & David Kelsey, 2011. "Are the treasures of game theory ambiguous?," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 48(2), pages 313-339, October.
    9. Stauber, Ronald, 2017. "Irrationality and ambiguity in extensive games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 409-432.
    10. Evan Calford, 2017. "Uncertainty Aversion in Game Theory: Experimental Evidence," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1291, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
    11. Nicolas Lampach & Kene Boun My & Sandrine Spaeter, 2016. "Risk, Ambiguity and Efficient Liability Rules: An experiment," Working Papers of BETA 2016-30, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    12. Dominiak, Adam & Eichberger, Jürgen, 2016. "Support notions for belief functions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 28-32.
    13. repec:kap:theord:v:82:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11238-016-9569-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Christopher Boortz, 2016. "Irrational Exuberance and Herding in Financial Markets," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2016-016, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    15. Azrieli, Yaron & Teper, Roee, 2011. "Uncertainty aversion and equilibrium existence in games with incomplete information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 310-317.
    16. Dominiak, Adam & Lee, Min Suk, 2017. "Coherent Dempster–Shafer equilibrium and ambiguous signals," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 42-54.

    More about this item


    Ambiguity in games; overcon?fidence; strategic complementarity; optimism; RDEU.;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty


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