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Exploring the Capability to Backward Induct – An Experimental Study with Children and Young Adults

  • Jeannette Brosig-Koch

    ()

  • Timo Heinrich
  • Christoph Helbach

We investigate learning and the development of the capability to backward induct in children and young adults aged 6 to 23 under controlled laboratory conditions. The experimental design employs a modified version of the race game. As in the original game (see Burks et al., 2009, Dufwenberg et al., 2010, Gneezy et al., 2010, and Levitt et al., 2011), subjects need to apply backward induction in order to solve the games. We find that subjects’ capability to backward induct improves with age, but that this process systematically diff ers across gender. Our repetition of the games provides insights into differences in learning between age groups and across gender.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0360.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0360
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  1. Robert Hoffmann & Jin-Yee Tee, 2003. "Adolescent-Adult Interactions and Culture in the Ultimatum Game," Occasional Papers 5, Industrial Economics Division.
  2. Czermak, Simon & Feri, Francesco & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela & Sutter, Matthias, 2010. "Strategic Sophistication of Adolescents: Evidence from Experimental Normal-Form Games," IZA Discussion Papers 5049, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. John List & Sally Sadoff & Steven Levitt, 2010. "Checkmate: Exploring backward induction among chess players," Artefactual Field Experiments 00081, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2012. "The intergenerational transmission of risk and trust attitudes," Munich Reprints in Economics 20051, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  6. William T. Harbaugh & Kate Krause & Lise Vesterlund, 1999. "Risk attitudes of children and adults: choices over small and large probability gains and losses," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 1999-2, University of Oregon Economics Department.
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  8. 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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  11. Otto, Annette M.C. & Schots, Paul A.M. & Westerman, Joris A.J. & Webley, Paul, 2006. "Children's use of saving strategies: An experimental approach," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 57-72, February.
  12. J.Keith Murnighan & MIchael Saxon, 1998. "Ultimatum bargaining by children and adults," Artefactual Field Experiments 00100, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Gender and Competition at a Young Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 377-381, May.
  14. Dufwenberg, Martin & Sundaram, Ramya & Butler, David J., 2010. "Epiphany in the Game of 21," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 132-143, August.
  15. Fey, Mark & McKelvey, Richard D & Palfrey, Thomas R, 1996. "An Experimental Study of Constant-Sum Centipede Games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 25(3), pages 269-87.
  16. Johnson, Eric J. & Camerer, Colin & Sen, Sankar & Rymon, Talia, 2002. "Detecting Failures of Backward Induction: Monitoring Information Search in Sequential Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 16-47, May.
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