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The Strategies Behind Their Actions: A Method To Infer Repeated-Game Strategies And An Application To Buyer Behavior

  • Jim Engle-Warnick

    ()

  • Bradley Ruffle

    ()

We introduce a Bayesian method to infer repeted-game strategies in the form of if-then statements that best describe individuals' observed actions. We apply this method to buyer behavior in posted-offer market experiments. While the strategies of one-quarter of the buyers in our experiments correspond to the game-theoretic prediction of passive price-taking, for three-quarters of the buyers we infer repeated-game strategies that condition on time, price, and combinations of time and price. Our analysis fills a gap in a literature that studies the convergence of pricing behavior in posted-offer markets but has not addressed the market as a repeated game. We propose that strategy inference should at least complement existing methods of statistical inference on observed strategic behavior.

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Paper provided by McGill University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2005-04.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcl:mclwop:2005-04
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  1. Davis, Douglas D. & Holt, Charles A., 2008. "The Exercise of Market Power in Laboratory Experiments," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  2. Roman Inderst & Christian Wey, 2001. "Bargaining, Mergers, and Technology Choice in Bilaterally Oligopolistic Industries," CIG Working Papers FS IV 01-19, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  3. Geweke, John & Keane, Michael, 2001. "Computationally intensive methods for integration in econometrics," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 56, pages 3463-3568 Elsevier.
  4. John Duffy & Jim Warnick, 1999. "Using Symbolic Regression to Infer Strategies from Experimental Data," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1033, Society for Computational Economics.
  5. Selten, Reinhard & Stoecker, Rolf, 1986. "End behavior in sequences of finite Prisoner's Dilemma supergames A learning theory approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 47-70, March.
  6. Bradley J. Ruffle, 2000. "Some factors affecting demand withholding in posted-offer markets," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 529-544.
  7. Selten,Reinhard & Mitzkewitz,Michael & Uhlich,Gerald, . "Duopoly strategies programmed by experienced players," Discussion Paper Serie B 106, University of Bonn, Germany.
  8. Stahl Dale O. & Wilson Paul W., 1995. "On Players' Models of Other Players: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 218-254, July.
  9. Broseta, Bruno & Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P., 2000. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt0fp8278k, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  10. David Kreps & Paul Milgrom & John Roberts & Bob Wilson, 2010. "Rational Cooperation in the Finitely Repeated Prisoners' Dilemma," Levine's Working Paper Archive 239, David K. Levine.
  11. Engle-Warnick, Jim, 2003. "Inferring strategies from observed actions: a nonparametric, binary tree classification approach," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(11-12), pages 2151-2170, September.
  12. John F. Geweke & Michael P. Keane, 1996. "Bayesian inference for dynamic choice models without the need for dynamic programming," Working Papers 564, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. Daniel Houser & Michael Keane & Kevin McCabe, 2004. "Behavior in a Dynamic Decision Problem: An Analysis of Experimental Evidence Using a Bayesian Type Classification Algorithm," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 781-822, 05.
  14. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
  15. El-Gamal, Mahmoud A. & Grether, David M., 1995. "Are People Bayesian? Uncovering Behavioral Strategies," Working Papers 919, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  16. Engle-Warnick, Jim, 2003. "Inferring strategies from observed actions: a nonparametric, binary tree classification approach," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(11), pages 2151-2170.
  17. Manski, Charles F., 2002. "Identification of decision rules in experiments on simple games of proposal and response," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 880-891, May.
  18. Jim Engle-Warnick & Bradley Ruffle, 2006. "Buyer Concentration As A Source Of Countervailing Power: Evidence From Experimental Posted-Offer Markets," Departmental Working Papers 2006-12, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  19. Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-79, May.
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