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The Compromise Game: Two-sided Adverse Selection in the Laboratory

  • Juan D. Carrillo

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Southern California)

  • Thomas R. Palfrey

    ()

    (The Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology)

We analyze a game of two-sided private information characterized by extreme adverse selection, and study a special case in the laboratory. Each player has a privately known "strength" and can decide to fight or compromise. If either chooses to fight, there is a conflict; the stronger player receives a high payoff and the weaker player receives a low payoff. If both choose to compromise, conflict is avoided and each receives an intermediate payoff. The only equilibrium in both the sequential and simultaneous versions of the game is for players to always fight, independent of their own strength. In our experiment, we observe among other things (i) frequent compromise, (ii) little evidence of learning, and (iii) different behavior between first, second and simultaneous movers. We explore several models in an attempt to understand the reasons underlying these anomalous choices, including quantal response equilibrium, cognitive hierarchy, and cursed equilibrium.

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Paper provided by Institute of Economic Policy Research (IEPR) in its series IEPR Working Papers with number 06.60.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:scp:wpaper:06-60
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Web page: http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/economics/IEPR/

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  1. Holt, Charles A & Sherman, Roger, 1994. "The Loser's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 642-52, June.
  2. Vincent P. Crawford & Miguel A. Costa-Gomes, 2006. "Cognition and Behavior in Two-Person Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1737-1768, December.
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  4. Jacob Goeree & Charles Holt & Thomas Palfrey, 2005. "Regular Quantal Response Equilibrium," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 347-367, December.
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  13. Philippe Jehiel, 2005. "Analogy-Based Expectation Equilibrium," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000106, UCLA Department of Economics.
  14. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
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  17. Philippe Jehiel & Frédéric Koessler, 2008. "Revisiting Games of Incomplete Information with Analogy-Based Expectations," Post-Print halshs-00754297, HAL.
  18. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
  19. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
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