IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Rationalizability and Minimal Complexity in Dynamic Games

  • Perea Andrés


Registered author(s):

    This paper presents a formal epistemic framework for dynamic games in which players, during the course of the game, may revise their beliefs about the opponents'' utility functions. We impose three key conditions upon the players'' beliefs: (a) throughout the game, every move by the opponent should be interpreted as being part of a rational strategy, (b) the belief about the opponents'' relative ranking of two strategies should not be revised unless one is certain that the opponent has decided not to choose one of these strategies, and (c) the players'' initial beliefs about the opponents'' utility functions should agree on a given profile u of utility functions. Types that, throughout the game, respect common belief about these three events, are called persistently rationalizable for the profile u of utility functions. It is shown that persistent rationalizability implies the backward induction procedure in generic games with perfect information. We next focus on persistently rationalizable types for u that hold a theory about the opponents of ``minimal complexity'''', resulting in the concept of minimal rationalizability. For two-player simultaneous move games, minimal rationalizability is equivalent to the concept of Nash equilibrium strategy. In every outside option game, as defined by van Damme (1989), minimal rationalizability uniquely selects the forward induction outcome.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 401 Unauthorized. If this is indeed the case, please notify (Charles Bollen)

    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR) in its series Research Memorandum with number 047.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:unm:umamet:2003047
    Contact details of provider: Postal: P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht
    Phone: +31 (0)43 38 83 830
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Dov Samet, 1994. "Hypothetical Knowledge and Games with Perfect Information," Game Theory and Information 9408001, EconWPA, revised 17 Aug 1994.
    2. Frank Schuhmacher, 1999. "Proper rationalizability and backward induction," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 599-615.
    3. Levine, David & Kreps, David & Fudenberg, Drew, 1988. "On the Robustness of Equilibrium Refinements," Scholarly Articles 3350444, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    4. Robert Aumann & Adam Brandenburger, 2014. "Epistemic Conditions for Nash Equilibrium," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: The Language of Game Theory Putting Epistemics into the Mathematics of Games, chapter 5, pages 113-136 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Balkenborg, Dieter & Eyal Winter, 1995. "A Necessary and Sufficient Epistemic Condition for Playing Backward Induction," Discussion Paper Serie B 331, University of Bonn, Germany.
    6. van Damme,Eric, 1987. "Stable equilibria and forward induction," Discussion Paper Serie A 128, University of Bonn, Germany.
    7. Battigalli, Pierpaolo, 1997. "On Rationalizability in Extensive Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 40-61, May.
    8. Aumann, Robert J., 1995. "Backward induction and common knowledge of rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 6-19.
    9. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1984. "Rationalizable Strategic Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 1007-28, July.
    10. Zauner, Klaus G., 2002. "The existence of equilibrium in games with randomly perturbed payoffs and applications to experimental economics," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 115-120, September.
    11. Werlang, Sérgio Ribeiro da Costa & Chin-Chiu Tan, Tommy, 1987. "The Bayesian Foundations of Solution Concepts of Games," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 111, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    12. Blume, Lawrence & Brandenburger, Adam & Dekel, Eddie, 1991. "Lexicographic Probabilities and Equilibrium Refinements," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 81-98, January.
    13. Makoto Shimoji, 2002. "On forward induction in money-burning games," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 637-648.
    14. Lawrence Blume & Adam Brandenburger & Eddie Dekel, 2014. "Lexicographic Probabilities and Choice Under Uncertainty," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: The Language of Game Theory Putting Epistemics into the Mathematics of Games, chapter 6, pages 137-160 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    15. Philip J. Reny, 1992. "Rationality in Extensive-Form Games," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 103-118, Fall.
    16. Battigalli, Pierpaolo, 1996. "Strategic Independence and Perfect Bayesian Equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 201-234, July.
    17. P. Reny, 2010. "Common Belief and the Theory of Games with Perfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 386, David K. Levine.
    18. Stalnaker, Robert, 1998. "Belief revision in games: forward and backward induction1," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 31-56, July.
    19. Asheim, Geir B. & Perea, Andres, 2005. "Sequential and quasi-perfect rationalizability in extensive games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 15-42, October.
    20. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1991. "Comments on the Interpretation of Game Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 909-24, July.
    21. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Siniscalchi, Marciano, 2002. "Strong Belief and Forward Induction Reasoning," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 356-391, October.
    22. Perea Andrés, 2003. "Proper Rationalizability and Belief Revision in Dynamic Games," Research Memorandum 048, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    23. Epstein, Larry G & Wang, Tan, 1996. ""Beliefs about Beliefs" without Probabilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1343-73, November.
    24. Pearce, David G, 1984. "Rationalizable Strategic Behavior and the Problem of Perfection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 1029-50, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:unm:umamet:2003047. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Charles Bollen)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.