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Cooperation through Imitation

Author

Listed:
  • James Bergin

    (Queen's University)

  • Dan Bernhardt

    (University of Illinois)

Abstract

This paper characterizes long-run outcomes for broad classes of symmetric games, when players select actions on the basis of average historical performance. Received wisdom is that when agent's interests are partially opposed, behavior is excessively competitive: ``keeping up with the Jones' '' lowers everyones' welfare. Here, we study the long-run consequences of imitative behavior when agents have sufficiently long memories --- and the outcome is dramatically different. Imitation robustly leads to cooperative outcomes (with highest symmetric payoffs) in the long run. This provides a rationale, for example, for collusive cartel-like behavior without collusive intent on the part of the agents.

Suggested Citation

  • James Bergin & Dan Bernhardt, 2006. "Cooperation through Imitation," Working Papers 1042, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1042
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    File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1042.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    8. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 2004. "Through Trial and Error to Collusion," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(1), pages 205-224, February.
    9. Eshel, Ilan & Samuelson, Larry & Shaked, Avner, 1998. "Altruists, Egoists, and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 157-179, March.
    10. Alos-Ferrer, Carlos, 2004. "Cournot versus Walras in dynamic oligopolies with memory," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 193-217, February.
    11. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Ana Ania, 2005. "The evolutionary stability of perfectly competitive behavior," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 26(3), pages 497-516, October.
    12. James Bergin & Dan Bernhardt, 2004. "Comparative Learning Dynamics," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 431-465, May.
    13. Josephson, Jens & Matros, Alexander, 2004. "Stochastic imitation in finite games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 244-259, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Birgitte Sloth & Hans Whitta-Jacobsen, 2011. "Economic Darwinism," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 70(3), pages 385-398, March.
    2. repec:spr:grdene:v:23:y:2014:i:3:d:10.1007_s10726-013-9341-y is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Alós-Ferrer, Carlos & Weidenholzer, Simon, 2014. "Imitation and the role of information in overcoming coordination failures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 397-411.
    4. Hwang, Sung-Ha & Katsoulakis, Markos & Rey-Bellet, Luc, 2013. "Deterministic equations for stochastic spatial evolutionary games," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(3), September.
    5. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Nick Netzer, 2015. "Robust stochastic stability," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 58(1), pages 31-57, January.
    6. Cui, Zhiwei & Wang, Rui, 2016. "Collaboration in networks with randomly chosen agents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 129-141.
    7. repec:eee:dyncon:v:82:y:2017:i:c:p:257-272 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Hedlund Jonas, 2012. "Altruism and Local Interaction," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-27, June.
    9. Jonas Hedlund, 2015. "Imitation in Cournot oligopolies with multiple markets," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 60(3), pages 567-587, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Evolution; Imitation;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection

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