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Beliefs and (In)Stability in Normal-Form Games

Author

Listed:
  • Hyndman, Kyle
  • Terracol, Antoine
  • Vaksmann, Jonathan

Abstract

In this paper, we use experimental data to study players' stability in normal-form games where subjects have to report beliefs and to choose actions. Subjects saw each of 12 games four times in a regular or isomorphic form spread over two days without feedback. We document a high degree of stability within the same (strategically equivalent) game, although time and changes in the presentation of the game do lead to less stability. To look at stability across different games, we adopt the level-k theory, and show that stability of both beliefs and actions is significantly lower. Finally, we estimate a structural model in which players either apply a consistent level of reasoning across strategically different games, or reasoning levels change from game to game. Our results show that approximately 30% of subjects apply a consistent level of reasoning across the 12 games, but that they assign a low level of sophistication to their opponent. The remaining 70% apply different levels of reasoning to different games.

Suggested Citation

  • Hyndman, Kyle & Terracol, Antoine & Vaksmann, Jonathan, 2013. "Beliefs and (In)Stability in Normal-Form Games," MPRA Paper 47221, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:47221
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/47221/1/MPRA_paper_47221.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stahl Dale O. & Wilson Paul W., 1995. "On Players' Models of Other Players: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 218-254, July.
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    3. Vincent P. Crawford & Miguel A. Costa-Gomes, 2006. "Cognition and Behavior in Two-Person Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1737-1768, December.
    4. Miguel A. Costa-Gomes & Georg Weizsäcker, 2008. "Stated Beliefs and Play in Normal-Form Games," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 729-762.
    5. David Danz & Dietmar Fehr & Dorothea Kübler, 2012. "Information and beliefs in a repeated normal-form game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(4), pages 622-640, December.
    6. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, September.
    7. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P & Broseta, Bruno, 2001. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1193-1235, September.
    8. Georganas, Sotiris & Healy, Paul J. & Weber, Roberto A., 2015. "On the persistence of strategic sophistication," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 159(PA), pages 369-400.
    9. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A., 2004. "A model of noisy introspection," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 365-382, February.
    10. Manski, Charles F., 2002. "Identification of decision rules in experiments on simple games of proposal and response," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 880-891, May.
    11. Agranov, Marina & Potamites, Elizabeth & Schotter, Andrew & Tergiman, Chloe, 2012. "Beliefs and endogenous cognitive levels: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 449-463.
    12. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-1326, December.
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    15. repec:mpr:mprres:7497 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Heller, Yuval, 2015. "Three steps ahead," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(1), January.
    2. Dominik Bauer & Irenaeus Wolff, 2018. "Biases in Beliefs: Experimental Evidence," TWI Research Paper Series 109, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Game theory; Beliefs; Stability; Level-$k$ thinking;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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