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Superstition and Rational Learning

  • Levine, David
  • Fudenberg, Drew

We argue that some, but not all, superstitions can persist when learning is rational and players are patient, and illustrate our argument with an example inspired by the Code of Hammurabi. The code specified an “appeal by surviving in the river†as a way of deciding whether an accusation was true. According to our theory, a mechanism that uses superstitions two or more steps off the equilibrium path, such as “appeal by surviving in the river,†is more likely to persist than a superstition where the false beliefs are only one step off the equilibrium path.

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File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/3196330/Superstition.pdf
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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 3196330.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Publication status: Published in American Economic Review
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:3196330
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  1. Fudenberg, Drew & Kreps, David M. & Levine, David K., 1988. "On the robustness of equilibrium refinements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 354-380, April.
  2. Rubinstein Ariel & Wolinsky Asher, 1994. "Rationalizable Conjectural Equilibrium: Between Nash and Rationalizability," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 299-311, March.
  3. Kalai, E & Neme, A, 1992. "The Strength of a Little Perfection," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 20(4), pages 335-55.
  4. Dekel, Eddie & Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K., 1999. "Payoff Information and Self-Confirming Equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 165-185, December.
  5. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1998. "Sequential Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 237, David K. Levine.
  6. Jehiel, Philippe & Samet, Dov, 2005. "Learning to play games in extensive form by valuation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 124(2), pages 129-148, October.
  7. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K, 1993. "Self-Confirming Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 523-45, May.
  8. Robert J. Aumann, 2010. "Correlated Equilibrium as an expression of Bayesian Rationality," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000377, David K. Levine.
  9. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K., 1999. "Conditional Universal Consistency," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 104-130, October.
  10. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1993. "Steady State Learning and Nash Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 373, David K. Levine.
  11. Hart, Sergiu, 2002. "Evolutionary dynamics and backward induction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 227-264, November.
  12. Lambson, Val E. & Probst, Daniel A., 2004. "Learning by matching patterns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 398-409, February.
  13. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1997. "Measuring Players' Losses in Experimental Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 507-536.
  14. Fudenberg, Drew & Kreps, David M., 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games I. Self-confirming equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 20-55.
  15. Noeldecke,Georg & Samuelson,Larry, . "An evolutionary analysis of backward and forward induction," Discussion Paper Serie B 228, University of Bonn, Germany.
  16. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1996. "Measuring Subject’s Losses in Experimental Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 370, David K. Levine.
  17. Aoyagi, Masaki, 1996. "Evolution of Beliefs and the Nash Equilibrium of Normal Form Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 444-469, August.
  18. Foster, Dean P. & Vohra, Rakesh V., 1997. "Calibrated Learning and Correlated Equilibrium," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 40-55, October.
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