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An Evolutionary Approach to Congestion

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  • William H. Sandholm

Abstract

Using techniques from evolutionary game theory, we analyze potential games with continuous player sets, a class of games which includes a general model of network congestion as a special case. We concisely characterize both the complete set of Nash equilibria and the set of equilibria which are robust against small disturbances of aggregate behavior. We provide a strong evolutionary justification of why equilibria must arise. We characterize situations in which stable equilibria are socially efficient, and show that in such cases, evolution always increases aggregate efficiency. Applying these results, we construct a parameterized class of congestion tolls under which evolution yields socially optimal play. Finally, we characterize potential games with continuous player sets by establishing that a generalization of these games is precisely the limiting version of finite player potential games (Monderer and Shapley (1996)) which satisfy an anonymity condition.

Suggested Citation

  • William H. Sandholm, 1997. "An Evolutionary Approach to Congestion," Discussion Papers 1198, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1198
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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