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The Not-So-Absent-Minded Driver


  • Oliver Board


This paper starts with a re-examination of Piccione and Rubinstein`s Absent-Minded Driver problem, and suggests a novel interpretation of Aumann, Hart and Perry`s notion of action-optimality. We then consider several variants of the original problem in which the assumption that the player`s information sets partition the set of his decision nodes is relaxed. This relaxation enables us to construct a counter-example to Piccione and Rubinstein`s result that planning-optimal strategies are always action-optimal. We also show that an agent with more information may do worse than an agent with less.

Suggested Citation

  • Oliver Board, 2003. "The Not-So-Absent-Minded Driver," Economics Series Working Papers 147, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:147

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert Aumann & Adam Brandenburger, 2014. "Epistemic Conditions for Nash Equilibrium," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Language of Game Theory Putting Epistemics into the Mathematics of Games, chapter 5, pages 113-136 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    2. Piccione, Michele & Rubinstein, Ariel, 1997. "On the Interpretation of Decision Problems with Imperfect Recall," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, July.
    3. Oliver Board, 2002. "The Deception of the Greeks: Generalizing the Information Structure of Extensive Form Games," Economics Series Working Papers 137, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    4. Halpern, Joseph Y., 1997. "On Ambiguities in the Interpretation of Game Trees," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 66-96, July.
    5. Aumann, Robert J. & Hart, Sergiu & Perry, Motty, 1997. "The Absent-Minded Driver," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 102-116, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Board, Oliver, 2004. "Dynamic interactive epistemology," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 49-80, October.
    2. M. Levati & Matthias Uhl & Ro’i Zultan, 2014. "Imperfect recall and time inconsistencies: an experimental test of the absentminded driver “paradox”," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 43(1), pages 65-88, February.
    3. Sudipta Sarangi & Cary Deck, 2006. "Inducing Absent-Mindedness in the Lab," Departmental Working Papers 2006-09, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    4. Jean Baratgin & Bernard Walliser, 2010. "Sleeping Beauty and the absent-minded driver," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 69(3), pages 489-496, September.

    More about this item


    absentmindedness; action optimality;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty


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