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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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File URL: http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/Economics/papers/2001/w14/bintree1gen.pdf
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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/economics/

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  1. Jim Engle-Warnick & Robert L. Slonim, 2001. "Inferring Repeated Game Strategies From Actions: Evidence From Trust Game Experiments," Economics Papers 2001-W13, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bruce E. Hansen, 1996. "Sample Splitting and Threshold Estimation," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 319., Boston College Department of Economics, revised 12 May 1998.
  5. 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.
  6. Durlauf, S.M. & Johnson, P.A., 1995. "Multiple Regimes and Cross-Country Growth Behavior," Working papers 9419r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  7. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-95, December.
  8. 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.
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