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Rational reasoning or adaptive behavior? Evidence from two-person beauty contest games

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Abstract

Many experiments have shown that human subjects do not necessarily behave in line with game theoretic assumptions and solution concepts. The reasons for this non-conformity are multiple. In this paper we study the argument whether a deviation from game theory is because subjects are rational, but doubt that others are rational as well, compared to the argument that subjects, in general, are boundedly rational themselves. To distinguish these two hypotheses, we study behavior in repeated 2-person and many-person Beauty- Contest-Games which are strategically different from one another. We analyze four different treatments and observe that convergence toward equilibrium is driven by learning through the information about the other player’s choice and adaptation rather than self-initiated rational reasoning.

Suggested Citation

  • Brit Grosskopf & Rosemarie Nagel, 2007. "Rational reasoning or adaptive behavior? Evidence from two-person beauty contest games," Economics Working Papers 1068, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1068
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    Cited by:

    1. Kocher, Martin & Strau[ss], Sabine & Sutter, Matthias, 2006. "Individual or team decision-making--Causes and consequences of self-selection," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 259-270, August.
    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.
    3. Virtudes Alba-Fernández & Pablo Brañas-Garza & Francisca Jiménez-Jiménez & Javier Rodero-Cosano, 2006. "Teaching Nash Equilibrium and Dominance: A Classroom Experiment on the Beauty Contest," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 305-322, July.
    4. Martin G. Kocher & Matthias Sutter, 2005. "The Decision Maker Matters: Individual Versus Group Behaviour in Experimental Beauty-Contest Games," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 200-223, January.
    5. Rydval, Ondrej & Ortmann, Andreas & Ostatnicky, Michal, 2009. "Three very simple games and what it takes to solve them," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 589-601, October.
    6. David L. Dickinson & Todd McElroy, 2009. "Naturally-occurring sleep choice and time of day effects on p-beauty contest outcomes," Working Papers 09-03, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    7. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho & Juin Kuan Chong, 2003. "A cognitive hierarchy theory of one-shot games: Some preliminary results," Levine's Bibliography 506439000000000495, UCLA Department of Economics.
    8. Martin G. Kocher & Matthias Sutter & Florian Wakolbinger, 2007. "The Impact of Naïve Advice and Observational Learning in Beauty-contest Games," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-015/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Mazzocco, Ketti & Cherubini, Anna Maria & Cherubini, Paolo, 2013. "On the short horizon of spontaneous iterative reasoning in logical puzzles and games," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 24-40.
    10. Robert Slonim, 2005. "Competing Against Experienced and Inexperienced Players," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(1), pages 55-75, April.
    11. Dickinson, David L. & McElroy, Todd, 2010. "Rationality around the clock: Sleep and time-of-day effects on guessing game responses," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 245-248, August.
    12. Grosskopf, Brit & Nagel, Rosemarie, 2008. "The two-person beauty contest," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 93-99, January.
    13. Subhasish Dugar & Haimanti Bhattacharya, 2008. "The Power of Reasoning: Experimental Evidence," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2008_20, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
    14. Colin F. Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho & Juin-Kuan Chong, 2004. "A Cognitive Hierarchy Model of Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 861-898.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Beauty contest; Guessing game; Bounded rationality; Weak dominance; Learning;

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments

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