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Identification of Biased Beliefs in Games of Incomplete Information Using Experimental Data

Listed author(s):
  • Victor Aguirregabiria
  • Erhao Xie

This paper studies the identification of players' preferences and beliefs in empirical applications of discrete choice games using experimental data. The experiment comprises a set of games with similar features (e.g., two-player coordination games) where each game has different values for the players' monetary payoffs. Each game can be interpreted as an experimental treatment group. The researcher assigns randomly subjects to play these games and observes the outcome of the game as described by the vector of players' actions. Data from this experiment can be described in terms of the empirical distribution of players' actions conditional on the treatment group. The researcher is interested in the nonparametric identification of players' preferences (utility function of money) and players' beliefs about the expected behavior of other players, without imposing restrictions such as unbiased or rational beliefs or a particular functional form for the utility of money. We show that the hypothesis of unbiased/rational beliefs is testable and propose a test of this null hypothesis. We apply our method to two sets of experiments conducted by Goeree and Holt (2001) and Heinemann, Nagel and Ockenfels (2009). Our empirical results suggest that in the matching pennies game, a player is able to correctly predict other player's behavior. In the public good coordination game, our test can reject the null hypothesis of unbiased beliefs when the payoff of the non-cooperative action is relatively low.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-560.

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Length: Unknown pages
Date of creation: 12 May 2016
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-560
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  1. Matzkin, Rosa L, 1992. "Nonparametric and Distribution-Free Estimation of the Binary Threshold Crossing and the Binary Choice Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 239-270, March.
  2. Rutström, E. Elisabet & Wilcox, Nathaniel T., 2009. "Stated beliefs versus inferred beliefs: A methodological inquiry and experimental test," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 616-632, November.
  3. Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 2001. "Ten Little Treasures of Game Theory and Ten Intuitive Contradictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1402-1422, December.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
  5. Victor Aguirregabiria & Arvind Magesan, "undated". "Identification and Estimation of Dynamic Games when Players' Beliefs Are Not in Equilibrium," Working Papers 2012-03, Department of Economics, University of Calgary.
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  8. Van Huyck, John B & Battalio, Raymond C & Beil, Richard O, 1990. "Tacit Coordination Games, Strategic Uncertainty, and Coordination Failure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 234-248, March.
  9. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Wang, Stephanie W., 2009. "On eliciting beliefs in strategic games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 98-109, August.
  10. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 285-300, October.
  11. Frank Heinemann & Rosemarie Nagel & Peter Ockenfels, 2009. "Measuring Strategic Uncertainty in Coordination Games," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 181-221.
  12. Miguel A. Costa-Gomes & Georg Weizsäcker, 2008. "Stated Beliefs and Play in Normal-Form Games," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 729-762.
  13. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
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  16. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 2004. "Coordination risk and the price of debt," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 133-153, February.
  17. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2003. "Risk averse behavior in generalized matching pennies games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 97-113, October.
  18. Edi Karni, 2009. "A Mechanism for Eliciting Probabilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 603-606, 03.
  19. Tanjim Hossain & Ryo Okui, 2013. "The Binarized Scoring Rule," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(3), pages 984-1001.
  20. Richard Mckelvey & Thomas Palfrey, 1998. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Extensive Form Games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(1), pages 9-41, June.
  21. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Friedman, Daniel, 1997. "Individual Learning in Normal Form Games: Some Laboratory Results," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 46-76, April.
  22. Lewbel, Arthur, 2000. "Semiparametric qualitative response model estimation with unknown heteroscedasticity or instrumental variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 145-177, July.
  23. Jacob Goeree & Charles Holt & Thomas Palfrey, 2005. "Regular Quantal Response Equilibrium," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(4), pages 347-367, December.
  24. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  25. Crawford, Vincent P & Haller, Hans, 1990. "Learning How to Cooperate: Optimal Play in Repeated Coordination Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(3), pages 571-595, May.
  26. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  27. Nick Feltovich, 2000. "Reinforcement-Based vs. Belief-Based Learning Models in Experimental Asymmetric-Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 605-642, May.
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