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Imitators and Optimizers in a Changing Environment

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Abstract

We analyze the dynamic interaction between imitation and myopic optimization in an environment of changing marginal payoffs. Focusing on finite irreducible environments, we unfold a trade-off between the degree of interaction and the size of environmental shocks. The optimizer outperforms the imitator if interaction is weak or if shocks are large. We use the example of Cournot duopoly to give economic meaning to this condition. To establish our main result, we rely on continuous state space Markov theory. In particular, it turns out that introducing a stochastic environment with finitely many states suffices to make an otherwise deterministic process ergodic.

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  • Hehenkamp, Burkhard & Kaarbøe, Oddvar M., 2003. "Imitators and Optimizers in a Changing Environment," Working Papers in Economics 03/03, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:bergec:2003_003
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    1. Gale, Douglas & Rosenthal, Robert W., 1999. "Experimentation, Imitation, and Stochastic Stability," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-40, January.
    2. Droste, Edward & Hommes, Cars & Tuinstra, Jan, 2002. "Endogenous fluctuations under evolutionary pressure in Cournot competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 232-269, August.
    3. Schenk-Hoppe, Klaus Reiner, 2000. "The evolution of Walrasian behavior in oligopolies," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 35-55, February.
    4. Gale, Douglas & Rosenthal, Robert W., 2001. "Experimentation, Imitation, and Stochastic Stability: Addendum," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 164-174, March.
    5. Conlisk, John, 1980. "Costly optimizers versus cheap imitators," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 275-293, September.
    6. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
    7. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1997. "The Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 375-384, March.
    8. Rhode, Paul & Stegeman, Mark, 2001. "Non-Nash equilibria of Darwinian dynamics with applications to duopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 415-453, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Schipper, Burkhard C., 2009. "Imitators and optimizers in Cournot oligopoly," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 1981-1990, December.
    2. Khan, Abhimanyu & Peeters, Ronald, 2015. "Imitation by price and quantity setting firms in a differentiated market," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 28-36.
    3. Josephson, Jens, 2009. "Stochastic adaptation in finite games played by heterogeneous populations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1543-1554, August.
    4. Fosco, Constanza & Mengel, Friederike, 2011. "Cooperation through imitation and exclusion in networks," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 641-658, May.
    5. Matros, Alexander, 2012. "Altruistic versus egoistic behavior in a Public Good game," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 642-656.
    6. Tsakas, Nikolas, 2015. "Beatable imitation in symmetric games with perturbed payoffs," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 34-40.
    7. Peter Duersch & Joerg Oechssler & Burkhard Schipper, 2011. "Once Beaten, Never Again: Imitation in Two-Player Potential Games," Working Papers 1112, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    8. Schipper, Burkhard C, 2011. "Strategic control of myopic best reply in repeated games," MPRA Paper 30219, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    imitation; optimization; evolution; heterogeneous learning rules; changing environments;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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