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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. 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).
  2. Björn Bartling & Ernst Fehr & Daniel Schunk, 2011. "Health Effects on Children's Willingness to Compete," Working Papers 2011-014, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  3. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List & Sally E. Sadoff, 2011. "Checkmate: Exploring Backward Induction among Chess Players," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 975-90, April.
  4. Hoffmann, Robert & Tee, Jin-Yee, 2006. "Adolescent-adult interactions and culture in the ultimatum game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 98-116, February.
  5. Rützler, Daniela & Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G. & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2011. "Impatience and Uncertainty: Experimental Decisions Predict Adolescents' Field Behavior," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48720, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  6. repec:feb:artefa:0097 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G., 2007. "Trust and trustworthiness across different age groups," Munich Reprints in Economics 18182, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. J.Keith Murnighan & MIchael Saxon, 1998. "Ultimatum bargaining by children and adults," Artefactual Field Experiments 00100, The Field Experiments Website.
  18. 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.
  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. 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.
  21. 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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