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Learning in a Black Box: Trial-and-Error in Voluntary Contribuitons Games

  • H Peyton Young
  • H.H. Nax
  • M.N. Burton-Chellew
  • S.A. West
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    Many interactive environments can be represented as games, but they are so large and complex that individual players are in the dark about others' actions and the payoff structure.� This paper analyzes learning behavior in such 'black box' environments, where players' only source of information is their own history of actions taken and payoffs received.� Specifically we study voluntary contributions games.� We identify two robust features of the players' learning dynamics: search volatility and trend-following.� These features are clearly present when players have no information about the game; but also when players have full informaiton.� Convergence to Nash equilibrium occurs at about the same rate in both situations.

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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/12706/paper653.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 653.

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    Date of creation: 23 Apr 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:653
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Manor Rd. Building, Oxford, OX1 3UQ
    Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
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    1. R. Cookson, 2000. "Framing Effects in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 55-79, June.
    2. Ralph-C. Bayer & Elke Renner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2013. "Confusion and learning in the voluntary contributions game," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 478-496, December.
    3. Germano, Fabrizio & Lugosi, Gabor, 2007. "Global Nash convergence of Foster and Young's regret testing," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 135-154, July.
    4. Sergiu Hart & Andreu Mas-Colell, 2004. "Stochastic Uncoupled Dynamics and Nash Equilibrium," Discussion Paper Series dp371, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
    5. Sergiu Hart & Andreu Mas-Colell, 2003. "Uncoupled Dynamics Do Not Lead to Nash Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1830-1836, December.
    6. Ananish Chaudhuri, 2011. "Sustaining cooperation in laboratory public goods experiments: a selective survey of the literature," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 47-83, March.
    7. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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