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Inferring Strategies from Observed Actions: A Nonparametric, Binary Tree Classification Approach

This paper introduces a non-parametric binary classification tree approach to inferring unobserved strategies from the observed actions of economic agents. The strategies are in the form of possibly nested if-then statements. We apply our approach to experimental data from the repeated ultimatum game, which was conducted in four different countries by Roth et al. (1991). We find that strategy inference is consistent with existing inference, provides new explanations for subject behavior, and provides new empirically-based hypotheses regarding ultimatum game strategies. We conclude that strategy inference is potentially useful as a complementary method of statistical inference in applied research.

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Paper provided by Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford in its series Economics Papers with number 2001-W14.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 01 Aug 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nuf:econwp:0114
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  1. 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.
  2. Jim Engle-Warnick & Bradley Ruffle, 2006. "The Strategies Behind Their Actions: A Method To Infer Repeated-Game Strategies And An Application To Buyer Behavior," Departmental Working Papers 2005-04, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  3. John Duffy and Jim Engle-Warnick, 2001. "Multiple Regimes in U.S. Monetary Policy? A Nonparametric Approach," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 151, Society for Computational Economics.
  4. Bruce E. Hansen, 2000. "Sample Splitting and Threshold Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 575-604, May.
  5. Durlauf, S.M. & Johnson, P.A., 1995. "Multiple Regimes and Cross-Country Growth Behavior," Working papers 9419r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  6. Alvin E. Roth & V. Prasnikar & M. Okuno-Fujiwara & S. Zamir, 1998. "Bargaining and market behavior in Jerusalem, Liubljana, Pittsburgh and Tokyo: an experimental study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 344, David K. Levine.
  7. Jim Engle-Warnick & Robert Slonim, 2006. "Inferring repeated-game strategies from actions: evidence from trust game experiments," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 603-632, 08.
  8. Cooper, Suzanne J, 1998. "Multiple Regimes in U.S. Output Fluctuations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(1), pages 92-100, January.
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