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Social Learning in Market Games

  • Carlo Altavilla


  • Luigi Luini


  • Patrizia Sbriglia


The aim of our experiments is to test the effect of different information settings on firms’ behaviour in duopoly price and quantity games. We find that, when players have full information on their rivals’ choices, the imitation rule prevails and such learning behaviour induces more competitive outcomes in the Cournot market designs. By the same token, when information on the average industrial profit is provided, there is evidence of an increase in cooperation, and the majority of players experiment with new strategies when their payoff falls below the average profit (F. Palomino and F. Vega-Redondo, 1999; H. Dixon, 2000)

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Paper provided by University of Siena in its series Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena with number 003.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:usi:labsit:003
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  1. Schlag, Karl H., 1994. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? Exploring a Model of Social Evolution," Discussion Paper Serie B 296, University of Bonn, Germany.
  2. Karandikar, Rajeeva & Mookherjee, Dilip & Ray, Debraj & Vega-Redondo, Fernando, 1998. "Evolving Aspirations and Cooperation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 292-331, June.
  3. Offerman, Theo & Potters, Jan & Sonnemans, Joep, 2002. "Imitation and Belief Learning in an Oligopoly Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 973-97, October.
  4. Luigi Luini & Carlo Altavilla & Patrizia Sbriglia, 2003. "Information and Learning in Bertrand and Cournot Experimental Duopolies," Department of Economics University of Siena 406, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  5. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Joerg Oechssler, 1997. "Learning in Cournot Oligopoly - An Experiment," Game Theory and Information 9707009, EconWPA, revised 22 Jul 1997.
  6. Antoni Bosch-DomËnech & Nicolaas J. Vriend, 2003. "Imitation of successful behaviour in cournot markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 495-524, 04.
  7. Rosemarie Nagel & Nicolaas J. Vriend, 1999. "An experimental study of adaptive behavior in an oligopolistic market game," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 27-65.
  8. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 2000. "Does information about competitors' actions increase or decrease competition in experimental oligopoly markets?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 39-57, January.
  9. Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jörg & Normann, Hans-Theo, 1999. "Through trial & error to collusion," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1999,57, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  10. James D. Hamilton & Baldev Raj, 2002. "New directions in business cycle research and financial analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 149-162.
  11. Carlos Alós-Ferrer, 2001. "Cournot versus Walras in Dynamic Oligopolies with Memory," Vienna Economics Papers 0110, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  12. Jörg Oechssler, 2001. "Cooperation as a Result of Learning with Aspiration Levels," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse8_2001, University of Bonn, Germany.
  13. Schaffer, Mark E., 1989. "Are profit-maximisers the best survivors? : A Darwinian model of economic natural selection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 29-45, August.
  14. Fernando Vega Redondo & Frédéric Palomino, 1996. "Convergence of aspirations and (partial) cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma," Working Papers. Serie AD 1996-20, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  15. Karl H. Schlag, 1995. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? A Bounded Rational Approach to Multi-Armed Bandits," Discussion Paper Serie B 361, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Mar 1996.
  16. Rhode, Paul & Stegeman, Mark, 2001. "Non-Nash equilibria of Darwinian dynamics with applications to duopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 415-453, March.
  17. Herbert Simon, 1956. "A comparison of game theory and learning theory," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 267-272, September.
  18. Dixon, Huw D. & Sbriglia, Patrizia & Somma, Ernesto, 2006. "Learning to collude: An experiment in convergence and equilibrium selection in oligopoly," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 155-167, September.
  19. Paolo LUPI & Patrizia SBRIGLIA, 2003. "Exploring Human Behaviour and Learning in Experimental Cournot Settings," Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, Vita e Pensiero, Pubblicazioni dell'Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, vol. 111(3), pages 373-395.
  20. Rassenti, Stephen & Reynolds, Stanley S. & Smith, Vernon L. & Szidarovszky, Ferenc, 2000. "Adaptation and convergence of behavior in repeated experimental Cournot games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 117-146, February.
  21. Colin Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho, 1999. "Experience-weighted Attraction Learning in Normal Form Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 827-874, July.
  22. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
  23. Schenk-Hoppe, Klaus Reiner, 2000. "The evolution of Walrasian behavior in oligopolies," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 35-55, February.
  24. Dixon, Huw David & Wallis, Steven & Moss, Scott, 2002. "Axelrod Meets Cournot: Oligopoly and the Evolutionary Metaphor," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 20(3), pages 139-56, December.
  25. Steffen Huck & Hans-Theo Normann & Jörg Oechssler, 2000. "Trial & Error to Collusion - The Discrete Case," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse6_2000, University of Bonn, Germany.
  26. Dixon, Huw David, 2000. "Keeping up with the Joneses: competition and the evolution of collusion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 223-238, October.
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