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Social Learning and Coordination Conventions in Intergenerational Games: An Experiment in Lamarckian Evolutionary Dynamics

  • Barry Sopher

    ()

    (Rutgers University)

  • Andrew Schotter

    ()

    (New York University)

This is a paper on the creation and evolution of conventions of behavior in "inter-generational games". In these games a sequence of nonoverlapping "generations" of players play a stage game for a finite number of periods and are then replaced by other agents who continue the game in their role for an identical length of time. Players in generation t are allowed to see the history of the game played by all (or some subset) of the generations who played it before them and can communicate with their successors in generation t+1 and advise them on how they should behave. What we find is that word-of-mouth social learning (in the form of advice from parents to children) can be a strong force in the creation of social conventions, far stronger than the type of learning subjects seem capable of doing simply by learning the lessons of history without the guidance offered by such advice.

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Paper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 200021.

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Date of creation: 24 Oct 2000
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Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:200021
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  1. Russell Cooper & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe & Thomas W. Ross, 1989. "Communication in the Battle of the Sexes Game: Some Experimental Results," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(4), pages 568-587, Winter.
  2. Vega-Redondo, Fernando (ed.), 1996. "Evolution, Games, and Economic Behaviour," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774723.
  3. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 1998. "Cultural Transmission, Marriage and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," Working Papers 98-40, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  4. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
  5. H. Peyton Young, 1996. "The Economics of Convention," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 105-122, Spring.
  6. Salant, David J., 1991. "A repeated game with finitely lived overlapping generations of players," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 244-259, May.
  7. Nyarko, Yaw & Schotter, Andrew, 1998. "An Experimental Study of Belief Learning Using Real Beliefs," Working Papers 98-39, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  8. Kandori, Michihiro, 1992. "Repeated Games Played by Overlapping Generations of Players," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 81-92, January.
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