IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/not/notcdx/2009-18.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Confusion and Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Public Good Games

Author

Listed:
  • Ralph-C Bayer

    (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)

  • Elke Renner

    (School of Economics, University of Nottingham)

  • Rupert Sausgruber

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

We use a limited information environment to mimic the state of confusion in an experimental, repeated public goods game. The results show that reinforcement learning leads to dynamics similar to those observed in standard public goods games. However, closer inspection shows that individual decay of contributions in standard public goods games cannot be fully explained by reinforcement learning. According to our estimates, learning only accounts for 41 percent of the decay in contributions in standard public goods games. The contribution dynamics of subjects, who are identi?ed as conditional cooperators, di®er strongly from the learning dynamics, while a learning model estimated from the limited information treatment tracks behavior for subjects, who cannot be classi?ed as conditional cooperators, reasonably well.

Suggested Citation

  • Ralph-C Bayer & Elke Renner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2009. "Confusion and Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Public Good Games," Discussion Papers 2009-18, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  • Handle: RePEc:not:notcdx:2009-18
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cedex/documents/papers/2009-18.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Why free ride? : Strategies and learning in public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, December.
    2. Chen, Yan & Khoroshilov, Yuri, 2003. "Learning under limited information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 1-25, July.
    3. Arellano, Manuel & Bover, Olympia, 1995. "Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-51, July.
    4. Mookherjee Dilip & Sopher Barry, 1994. "Learning Behavior in an Experimental Matching Pennies Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 62-91, July.
    5. Croson, Rachel T. A., 1996. "Partners and strangers revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 25-32, October.
    6. Claudia Keser & Frans Van Winden, 2000. "Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 23-39, March.
    7. Colin F. Camerer & Ernst Fehr, "undated". "Measuring Social Norms and Preferences using Experimental Games: A Guide for Social Scientists," IEW - Working Papers 097, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    8. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    9. R. Cookson, 2000. "Framing Effects in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(1), pages 55-79, June.
    10. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gachter, 2010. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 541-556, March.
    11. Rajiv Sarin & Farshid Vahid, 2004. "Strategy Similarity and Coordination," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 506-527, July.
    12. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
    13. Muller, Laurent & Sefton, Martin & Steinberg, Richard & Vesterlund, Lise, 2008. "Strategic behavior and learning in repeated voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 782-793, September.
    14. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Cooperation in Public-Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 891-904, September.
    15. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    16. Daniel Houser & Robert Kurzban, 2002. "Revisiting Kindness and Confusion in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1062-1069, September.
    17. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
    18. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    19. Sarin, Rajiv & Vahid, Farshid, 1999. "Payoff Assessments without Probabilities: A Simple Dynamic Model of Choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 294-309, August.
    20. Andereoni, J., 1988. "Why Free Ride? Strategies And Learning In Public Goods Experiments," Working papers 375, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Castañeda, Gonzalo & Chávez-Juárez, Florian & Guerrero, Omar A., 2018. "How do governments determine policy priorities? Studying development strategies through spillover networks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 335-361.
    2. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2008. "Heterogeneous Social Preferences and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Good Experiments," TWI Research Paper Series 27, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    3. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gachter, 2010. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 541-556, March.
    4. Toke Reinholt Fosgaard & Lars Gårn Hansen & Erik Wengström, 2017. "Framing and Misperception in Public Good Experiments," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 119(2), pages 435-456, April.
    5. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2008. "Heterogeneous Social Preferences And The Dynamics Of Free Riding In Public Good Experiments," Discussion Papers 2008-07, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ralph-C Bayer & Elke Renner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2009. "Confusion and Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Public Goods Games," NRN working papers 2009-22, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    2. Ralph-C. Bayer & Elke Renner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2013. "Confusion and learning in the voluntary contributions game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(4), pages 478-496, December.
    3. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2008. "Heterogeneous Social Preferences And The Dynamics Of Free Riding In Public Good Experiments," Discussion Papers 2008-07, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    4. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gachter, 2010. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 541-556, March.
    5. Guillen, Pablo & Fatas, Enrique & Brañas-Garza, Pablo, 2010. "Inducing efficient conditional cooperation patterns in public goods games, an experimental investigation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 872-883, December.
    6. Urs Fischbacher & Simon G�chter, 2005. "Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods," IEW - Working Papers 261, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    7. Grolleau, Gilles & Sutan, Angela & Vranceanu, Radu, 2016. "Do people contribute more to intra-temporal or inter-temporal public goods?," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 186-195.
    8. Urs Fischbacher & Simon G�chter, 2005. "Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods," IEW - Working Papers 261, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    9. Martin G. Kocher & Peter Martinsson & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny E. Wollbrant, 2017. "Strong, bold, and kind: self-control and cooperation in social dilemmas," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(1), pages 44-69, March.
    10. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann, 2008. "Reciprocity, culture, and human cooperation: Previous insights and a new cross-cultural experiment," Discussion Papers 2008-14, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    11. Ernesto Reuben & Sigrid Suetens, 2012. "Revisiting strategic versus non-strategic cooperation," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(1), pages 24-43, March.
    12. repec:tiu:tiucen:200922 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:dgr:kubcen:200922 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:dgr:kubcen:200833 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann, 2008. "Reciprocity, culture, and human cooperation: Previous insights and a new cross-cultural experiment," Discussion Papers 2008-14, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    16. repec:tiu:tiucen:200833 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Jasmina Arifovic & John Ledyard, 2012. "Individual Evolutionary Learning, Other-regarding Preferences, and the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," Discussion Papers wp12-01, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
    18. Takehisa Kumakawa & Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Takehiko Yamato, 2015. "Isolating and identifying motivations: A voluntary contribution mechanism experiment with interior Nash equilibria," Working Papers SDES-2015-16, Kochi University of Technology, School of Economics and Management, revised Mar 2015.
    19. Takafumi Yamakawa & Yoshitaka Okano & Tatsuyoshi Saijo, 2016. "Detecting motives for cooperation in public goods experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(2), pages 500-512, June.
    20. Cox, Caleb A. & Stoddard, Brock, 2018. "Strategic thinking in public goods games with teams," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 31-43.
    21. Neugebauer, Tibor & Perote, Javier & Schmidt, Ulrich & Loos, Malte, 2009. "Selfish-biased conditional cooperation: On the decline of contributions in repeated public goods experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 52-60, February.
    22. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Maria Paz Espinosa, 2011. "Unraveling Public Good Games," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(4), pages 1-18, November.
    23. Goeschl, Timo & Lohse, Johannes, 2018. "Cooperation in public good games. Calculated or confused?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 185-203.
    24. Jordi Brandts & Christina Rott & Carles Solà, 2016. "Not just like starting over - Leadership and revivification of cooperation in groups," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(4), pages 792-818, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public goods experiments; learning; limited information; confusion; conditional cooperation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:not:notcdx:2009-18. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cdnotuk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Suzanne Robey (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cdnotuk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.