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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. Aldo Rustichini & Uri Gneezy, 2004. "Gender and competition at a young age," Framed Field Experiments 00151, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. William Harbaugh & Kate Krause & Lise Vesterlund, 2002. "Risk Attitudes of Children and Adults: Choices Over Small and Large Probability Gains and Losses," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 53-84, June.
  3. Robert Hoffmann & Jin-Yee Tee, 2003. "Adolescent-Adult Interactions and Culture in the Ultimatum Game," Occasional Papers 5, Industrial Economics Division.
  4. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G. & Daniela, G.-R. & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2013. "Impatience and uncertainty: Experimental decisions predict adolescents' field behavior," Munich Reprints in Economics 18223, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Matthias Sutter & Martin G. Kocher & Daniela Rützler & Stefan T. Trautmann, 2011. "Impatience and Uncertainty: Experimental Decisions Predict Adolescents' Field Behavior," CESifo Working Paper Series 3635, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G. & Rützler, Daniela & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2010. "Impatience and Uncertainty: Experimental Decisions Predict Adolecents' Field Behavior," Discussion Papers in Economics 12114, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. Bartling, Björn & Fehr, Ernst & Schunk, Daniel, 2011. "Health Effects on Children's Willingness to Compete," IZA Discussion Papers 5740, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Sutter, Matthias, 2007. "Outcomes versus intentions: On the nature of fair behavior and its development with age," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 69-78, January.
  9. repec:feb:artefa:0097 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. 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.
  11. Gneezy, Uri & Rustichini, Aldo & Vostroknutov, Alexander, 2010. "Experience and insight in the Race game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 144-155, August.
  12. John List & Sally Sadoff & Steven Levitt, 2010. "Checkmate: Exploring backward induction among chess players," Artefactual Field Experiments 00081, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. 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.
  14. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G., 2007. "Trust and trustworthiness across different age groups," Munich Reprints in Economics 18182, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  15. Gary Bornstein & Tamar Kugler & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2002. "Individual and Group Decisions in the Centipede Game: Are Groups More “Rational” Players?," Discussion Paper Series dp298, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  16. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G., 2007. "Trust and trustworthiness across different age groups," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 364-382, May.
  18. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  19. Murnighan, J. Keith & Saxon, Michael Scott, 1998. "Ultimatum bargaining by children and adults," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 415-445, August.
  20. 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.
  21. Simon Czermak & Francesco Feri & Daniela R?tzler & Matthias Sutter, 2010. "Strategic sophistication of adolescents ? Evidence from experimental normal-form games," Working Papers 2010-15, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  22. J.Keith Murnighan & MIchael Saxon, 1998. "Ultimatum bargaining by children and adults," Artefactual Field Experiments 00100, The Field Experiments Website.
  23. Rapoport, Amnon & Stein, William E. & Parco, James E. & Nicholas, Thomas E., 2003. "Equilibrium play and adaptive learning in a three-person centipede game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 239-265, May.
  24. Fey, Mark & McKelvey, Richard D & Palfrey, Thomas R, 1996. "An Experimental Study of Constant-Sum Centipede Games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 269-87.
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