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Strategic Experimentation with Heterogeneous Agents and Payoff Externalities


  • Kaustav Das

    (Department of Economics, University of Exeter)


This paper analyses a two-player game of strategic experimentation with two-armed bandits.At least one of the arms is risky in the sense that it may not yield a lumpsum payoff. There is payoff externality between the players and they differ in their ability to learn across the risky arm. Either player has to decide in a continous time regarding which arm to use. Two alternative settings are analysed. The first setting has two risky arms which are perfectly negatively correlated. The other one has one safe arm and one risky arm. I show that in equilibrium (Markovian) there is always too much of duplication which implies that with respect to a social planner's solution, risky arms are explored excessively.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaustav Das, 2013. "Strategic Experimentation with Heterogeneous Agents and Payoff Externalities," Discussion Papers 1315, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:exe:wpaper:1315

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nicolas Klein & Sven Rady, 2011. "Negatively Correlated Bandits," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 693-732.
    2. Sudipto Bhattacharya & Dilip Mookherjee, 1986. "Portfolio Choice in Research and Development," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(4), pages 594-605, Winter.
    3. Dasgupta, Partha & Maskin, Eric, 1987. "The Simple Economics of Research Portfolios," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 581-595, September.
    4. Godfrey Keller & Sven Rady & Martin Cripps, 2005. "Strategic Experimentation with Exponential Bandits," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 39-68, January.
    5. Patrick Bolton & Christopher Harris, 1999. "Strategic Experimentation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 349-374, March.
    6. Rady, Sven & Keller, Godfrey, 2010. "Strategic experimentation with Poisson bandits," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5(2), May.
    7. Tom Lee & Louis L. Wilde, 1980. "Market Structure and Innovation: A Reformulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(2), pages 429-436.
    8. Ufuk Akcigit & Qingmin Liu, 2011. "The Role of Information in Competitive Experimentation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000321, David K. Levine.
    9. Claude d'Aspremont & Sudipto Bhattacharya & Louis-Andre Gerard-Varet, 2000. "Bargaining and Sharing Innovative Knowledge," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(2), pages 255-271.
    10. Kaylan Chatterjee & Robert Evans, 2004. "Rivals' Search for Buried Treasure: Competition and Duplication in R&D," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(1), pages 160-183, Spring.
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    More about this item


    R&D competition; Two-armed Bandit; Duplication; Learning.;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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