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Dumbing down rational players : learning and teaching in an experimental game

  • Antoine Terracol


    (GREMARS - Groupe de Recherches Modélisation Appliquée à la Recherche en Sciences Sociales - Université Charles-de-Gaulle Lille 3 - Sciences humaines et sociales, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS)

  • Jonathan Vaksmann


    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS)

This paper uses experimental data to examine the existence of a teaching strategy among bounded rational players. If players realize that their own actions modify their opponent's beliefs and actions, they might play certain actions to this specific end ; and forego immediate payoffs if the expected payoffs if the expected payoff gain from a teaching strategy is high enough. Our results support the existence of a teaching strategy in several ways : First they show that players update their beliefs in order to take account of the reaction of their opponents to their own action. Second, we examine if players actually use a teaching strategy by playing an action that induces a poor immediate payoff but is likely to modify the opponent's behavior so that a preferable outcome might emerge in the future. We find strong evidence of such a strategy in the data and confirm this finding within a logistic model which suggests that the future expected payoff that could arise from a teaching strategy has indeed a significant impact on choice probabilities. Finally, we investigate the effective impact of a teaching strategy on achieved outcomes and find that efficient teachers can successfully use teaching in order to reach their favorite outcome at the expense of their opponents.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number halshs-00145436.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 2007.17 - ISSN : 1955-611X. 2007
Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00145436
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