IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

What happens in the field stays in the field: Professionals do not play minimax in laboratory experiments

  • David Reiley
  • John List
  • Steven Levitt

The minimax argument represents game theory in its most elegant form: simple but with stark predictions. Although some of these predictions have been met with reasonable success in the field, experimental data have generally not provided results close to the theoretical predictions. In a striking study, Palacios-Huerta and Volij (2007) present evidence that potentially resolves this puzzle: both amateur and professional soccer players play nearly exact minimax strategies in laboratory experiments. In this paper, we establish important bounds on these results by examining the behavior of four distinct subject pools: college students, bridge professionals, world-class poker players, who have vast experience with high-stakes randomization in card games, and American professional soccer players. In contrast to Palacios-Huerta and Volij's results, we find little evidence that real-world experience transfers to the lab in these games--indeed, similar to previous experimental results, all four subject pools provide choices that are generally not close to minimax predictions. We use two additional pieces of evidence to explore why professionals do not perform well in the lab: (1) complementary experimental treatments that pit professionals against preprogrammed computers, and (2) post-experiment questionnaires. The most likely explanation is that these professionals are unable to transfer their skills at randomization from the familiar context of the field to the unfamiliar context of the lab.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://s3.amazonaws.com/fieldexperiments-papers/papers/00080.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Artefactual Field Experiments with number 00080.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:feb:artefa:00080
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.fieldexperiments.com

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2008. "Naturally occurring markets and exogenous laboratory experiments: A case study of the winner's curse," Framed Field Experiments 00266, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Michael S. Haigh & John A. List, 2005. "Do Professional Traders Exhibit Myopic Loss Aversion? An Experimental Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 523-534, 02.
  3. Ernst Fehr & John List, 2004. "The hidden costs and returns of incentives - trust and trustworthiness among ceos," Artefactual Field Experiments 00044, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. O'Neill, Barry, 1991. "Comments on Brown and Rosenthal's Reexamination [Testing the Minimax Hypothesis, A Reexamination of O'Neill's Game Experiment]," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 503-07, March.
  5. Spiliopoulos, Leonidas, 2008. "Do repeated game players detect patterns in opponents? Revisiting the Nyarko & Schotter belief elicitation experiment," MPRA Paper 6666, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Loewenstein, George, 1999. "Experimental Economics from the Vantage-Point of Behavioural Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages F23-34, February.
  7. repec:spr:compst:v:59:y:2004:i:3:p:359-373 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Jason Shachat & J. Todd Swarthout, 2003. "Do We Detect and Exploit Mixed Strategy Play by Opponents?," Experimental 0310001, EconWPA.
  9. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. Lawrence Friedman, 1971. "Optimal Bluffing Strategies in Poker," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(12), pages B764-B771, August.
  11. P.-A. Chiappori, 2002. "Testing Mixed-Strategy Equilibria When Players Are Heterogeneous: The Case of Penalty Kicks in Soccer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1138-1151, September.
  12. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  13. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
  14. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2001. "Professionals Play Minimax," Working Papers 2001-17, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  15. Robert W. Rosenthal & Jason Shachat & Mark Walker, 2003. "Hide and seek in Arizona," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 273-293, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:feb:artefa:00080. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joe Seidel)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.