What Happens in the Field Stays in the Field: Exploring Whether Professionals Play Minimax in Laboratory Experiments
The minimax argument represents game theory in its most elegant form: simple but with stark predictions. Although some of these predictions have been met with reasonable success in the field, experimental data have generally not provided results close to the theoretical predictions. In a striking study, Palacios-Huerta and Volij (2007) present evidence that potentially resolves this puzzle: both amateur and professional soccer players play nearly exact minimax strategies in laboratory experiments. In this paper, we establish important bounds on these results by examining the behavior of four distinct subject pools: college students, bridge professionals, world-class poker players, who have vast experience with high-stakes randomization in card games, and American professional soccer players. In contrast to Palacios-Huerta and Volij's results, we find little evidence that real-world experience transfers to the lab in these games--indeed, similar to previous experimental results, all four subject pools provide choices that are generally not close to minimax predictions. We use two additional pieces of evidence to explore why professionals do not perform well in the lab: (1) complementary experimental treatments that pit professionals against preprogrammed computers, and (2) post-experiment questionnaires. The most likely explanation is that these professionals are unable to transfer their skills at randomization from the familiar context of the field to the unfamiliar context of the lab.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Steven D. Levitt & John A. List & David H. Reiley, 2010. "What Happens in the Field Stays in the Field: Exploring Whether Professionals Play Minimax in Laboratory Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1413-1434, 07.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- repec:spr:compst:v:59:y:2004:i:3:p:359-373 is not listed on IDEAS
- John Wooders, 2010. "Does Experience Teach? Professionals and Minimax Play in the Lab," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 1143-1154, 05.
- Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004.
"The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives-Trust and Trustworthiness Among CEOs,"
Journal of the European Economic Association,
MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 743-771, 09.
- Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "THE HIDDEN COSTS AND RETURNS OF INCENTIVES — TRUST AND TRUSTWORTHINESS AMONG CEOs," Labor and Demography 0409012, EconWPA.
- E. Fehr & John A. List, . "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives - Trust and Trustworthiness among CEOs," IEW - Working Papers 134, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Ernst Fehr & John List, 2004. "The hidden costs and returns of incentives - trust and trustworthiness among ceos," Artefactual Field Experiments 00044, The Field Experiments Website.
- GlennW. Harrison & JohnA. List, 2008.
"Naturally Occurring Markets and Exogenous Laboratory Experiments: A Case Study of the Winner's Curse,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 822-843, 04.
- Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2007. "Naturally Occurring Markets and Exogenous Laboratory Experiments: A Case Study of the Winner's Curse," NBER Working Papers 13072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Glenn Harrison & John List, 2008. "Naturally occurring markets and exogenous laboratory experiments: A case study of the winner's curse," Framed Field Experiments 00266, The Field Experiments Website.
- Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2003.
"Professionals Play Minimax,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 395-415.
- John List & Michael Haigh, 2005.
"Do professional traders exhibit myopic loss aversion? An experimental analysis,"
Artefactual Field Experiments
00052, The Field Experiments Website.
- Michael S. Haigh & John A. List, 2005. "Do Professional Traders Exhibit Myopic Loss Aversion? An Experimental Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 523-534, 02.
- Haigh, Michael S. & List, John A., 2002. "Do Professional Traders Exhibit Myopic Loss Aversion? An Experimental Analysis," Working Papers 28554, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
- Robert W. Rosenthal & Jason Shachat & Mark Walker, 2003.
"Hide and Seek in Arizona,"
- David Reiley & John List, 2008.
Artefactual Field Experiments
00091, The Field Experiments Website.
- P.-A. Chiappori, 2002. "Testing Mixed-Strategy Equilibria When Players Are Heterogeneous: The Case of Penalty Kicks in Soccer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1138-1151, September.
- Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Oscar Volij, 2006.
"Experientia Docet: Professionals Play Minimax in Laboratory Experiments,"
NajEcon Working Paper Reviews
- Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Oscar Volij, 2008. "Experientia Docet: Professionals Play Minimax in Laboratory Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 71-115, 01.
- Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Oscar Volij, . "Experientia Docet: Professionals Play Minimax In Laboratory Experiments," Economic theory and game theory 019, Oscar Volij.
- O'Neill, Barry, 1991. "Comments on Brown and Rosenthal's Reexamination [Testing the Minimax Hypothesis, A Reexamination of O'Neill's Game Experiment]," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 503-07, March.
- Jason Shachat & J. Todd Swarthout, 2003.
"Do We Detect and Exploit Mixed Strategy Play by Opponents?,"
- Jason Shachat & J. Todd Swarthout, 2004. "Do we detect and exploit mixed strategy play by opponents?," Mathematical Methods of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 59(3), pages 359-373, 07.
- Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
- Spiliopoulos, Leonidas, 2008. "Do repeated game players detect patterns in opponents? Revisiting the Nyarko & Schotter belief elicitation experiment," MPRA Paper 6666, University Library of Munich, Germany.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15609. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.