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Homo Sapiens Sapiens Meets Homo Strategicus at the Laboratory

  • Ludovic Renou


  • Ralph C. Bayer


Homo Strategicus populates the vast plains of Game Theory. He knows all logical implications of his knowledge (logical omniscience) and chooses optimal strategies given his knowledge and beliefs (rationality). This paper investigates the extent to which the logical capabilities of Homo Sapiens Sapiens resemble those possessed by Homo Strategicus. Controlling for other-regarding preferences and beliefs about the rationality of others, we show, in the laboratory, that the ability of Homo Sapiens Sapiens to perform complex chains of iterative reasoning is much better than previously thought. Subjects were able to perform about two to three iterations of reasoning on average.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Leicester in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 08/16.

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Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision: Nov 2008
Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:08/16
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics University of Leicester, University Road. Leicester. LE1 7RH. UK
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  1. Lipman, Barton L, 1999. "Decision Theory without Logical Omniscience: Toward an Axiomatic Framework for Bounded Rationality," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 339-61, April.
  2. Ho, Teck Hua & Weigelt, Keith & Camerer, Colin, 1996. "Iterated Dominance and Iterated Best-Response in Experimental P-Beauty Contests," Working Papers 974, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  3. Dufwenberg, Martin & Sundaram, Ramya & Butler, David J., 2010. "Epiphany in the Game of 21," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 132-143, August.
  4. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2005. "Dynamic Psychological Games," Working Papers 287, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. Ralph-C. Bayer & Mickey Chan, 2009. "The Dirty Faces Game Revisited," School of Economics Working Papers 2009-19, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  6. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  7. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  8. Susana Cabrera & C. Capra & Rosario Gómez, 2007. "Behavior in one-shot traveler’s dilemma games: model and experiments with advice," Spanish Economic Review, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 129-152, June.
  9. Adam Brandenburger & Amanda Friedenberg & H. Jerome Keisler, 2008. "Admissibility in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(2), pages 307-352, 03.
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